The Tunisian Coast Guard rescued nine migrants and recovered the bodies of nine others after their boat capsized off the coast, the Tunisian Defense Ministry said on Monday.
Marine security units rescued the African migrants, whose boat capsized 18 kilometers (11.1 miles) off the coast of the central-eastern city of Mahdia, said a ministry statement.
The rescued people were in very poor condition, it said, adding that they were in their mid-twenties to age 30.
It added that they found the bodies of nine migrants and that search and rescue efforts continue.
Tunisian authorities stop illegal migration attempts and arrest hundreds of irregular migrants on almost a daily basis.
For years, Maghreb countries such as Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, and Morocco have witnessed attempts by migrants mainly from sub-Saharan Africa to reach Europe, hoping for a better life. While some of the migrants manage to reach their destination, others often die during the journey.