Around 200 migrants are feared dead in the Mediterranean Sea after a boat carrying around 600 passengers has capsized off the coast of Libya.

According to the Italian Coast Guard, 373 people have been rescued after the accident and the rescuers have recovered 25 bodies so far.

A UNHCR spokesman was quoted by the Guardian as saying: "We believe that the boat was carrying about 600 people, but we will never really know how many sunk."

"We believe that the boat was carrying about 600 people, but we will never really know how many sunk."

Officials said that the metal boat sank 15 miles off the coast of Libya after passengers ran to one side when it hit rough weather.

Malta Migrant Offshore Aid Station official Martin Xuereb was quoted by BBC news as saying: "Those that were on deck would have managed to jump, some of them drowned and some of them were saved.

"I think it’s unlikely that any additional survivors will be picked up."

An Irish rescue vessel, LÉ Niamh, and a boat operated by medical aid charity Médecins Sans Frontières were dispatched to the area after Italian naval officials received a distress call.

Italian and Irish navy vessels are also participating in the rescue operation.

The latest incident will become the deadliest migrant tragedy in the Mediterranean Sea since April if the death toll continues to rise.

In April this year, more than 800 people died after a fishing boat of migrants capsized 70 miles from the Libyan coast.

This year, more than 2,000 migrants are believed to have died so far while trying to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe.