Associated Press

Tunisia’s coastguard has rescued 48 Tunisian migrants whose boat began sinking as they tried to reach Italy by sea, the interior ministry said Saturday.

A patrol spotted the vessel on Friday night off Jebeniana, 210 kilometres (130 miles) south of Tunis.

The 9 metre craft “was sinking after taking on water”, the ministry said in a statement.

The passengers were all Tunisians aged 16 to 40, from the governorates of Medenine and Sfax, it added.

Tunisians regularly try to cross the Mediterranean to seek a better future in Europe, but departures peaked last September.

According to NGOs, the uptick reflected frustration among young people hard hit by unemployment.

In October, a collision between a migrant boat and a Tunisian military ship left at least 44 dead, in what Prime Minister Youssef Chahed called a “national disaster”.

Get more stories like this on Twitter & Facebook

AD: To get thousands of free final year project topics and materials sorted by subject to help with your research [click here]