Rescuers have recovered 150 bodies of African refugees fleeing the military violence in Libya.

International migration officials said Friday that operations continue in the Mediterranean Sea off Tunisia following the disappearance of some 200 migrants after the vessel they were on encountered rough waters this week.

At least 570 people were rescued from the boat off the southern Tunisian port of Sfax. Some have been hospitalized and at least three people died after being taken on shore.

Authorities report the boat got into trouble on Tuesday near the Tunisian island of Kerkennah. The TAP state news agency reported passengers were on an illegal voyage to Italy to escape fighting and NATO bombing in Libya.

International aid agencies say the migrants were of several African nationalities.

Europe has been under siege from refugees leaving Libya in recent weeks. The Italian island of Lampedusa has been a focal point of refugee landings and is struggling to handle the migration.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.