Tripoli: At least 97 migrants went missing after their boat sank on Thursday off the Libyan coast, a navy spokesman said.

According to survivors, those missing include 15 women and five children, said General Ayoub Kacem. The Libyan coast guard rescued a further 23 migrants of various African nationalities off the coast of Tripoli.

Incidentally, just earlier in the day, the German government had said it would support a ban on the export of boats from the EU to Libya as part of measures to stem the flow of migrants across the Mediterranean. Smugglers often use rickety vessels that capsise to ferry migrants from the north African country to Europe each month.