The Tunisian navy said on Saturday that it had rescued 81 migrants from Libya, including 32 Bangladeshis, who had set sail for Europe on a barely seaworthy vessel.
The boat, which had been damaged, was boarded around six kilometres off Tunisia’s northeastern coast, several international news agencies reported, quoting the navy.
They were handed over to the national guard of the country for legal proceedings.
Tunisia and neighbouring Libya are key departure points for migrants seeking to reach European shores, often in poorly-maintained vessels.
The Italian island of Lampedusa is only about 130km from the Tunisian coast. According to a source, Libyan authorities arrested 542 would-be migrants preparing to depart for Europe in inflatable boats last month.
An AFP photographer said most were originally from Bangladesh.
The International Organization for Migration has said that nearly 2,000 migrants drowned or went missing in the Mediterranean in 2021. Some 1,401 migrants drowned in the previous year.