At least nine migrants were drowned and nine were rescued along the Tunisian coast

Tunisia, Tunisia-The Tunisia Defense Ministry said Tuesday that at least nine migrants had died after the boat capsized along the Tunisia coast.

The bodies were recovered by the National Coast Guard, and two Marine forces rescued nine other immigrants. They came from various African countries, it said.

The statement did not specify how many people were believed to be on the boat. The search was still in progress.

The boat sank on Monday near the port of Madia in central eastern Tunisia. From there many people try to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.

Survivors reported that migrants between the ages of 25 and 30 departed from Sfax, a major city in southern Tunisia, from Sunday to Monday night.

According to the Tunisia Economic and Social Rights Forum, an NGO that monitors migrant issues, the Tunisia Coast Guard intercepted about 20,000 migrants from Tunisia or neighboring Libya last year trying to travel to Europe.

At least 1,300 migrants were drowned or missing in the Mediterranean last year, according to statistics from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR, and the International Organization for Migration.

Associated Press