Boat carrying 30 Tunisian nationals sinks off Tunisia's coast, drowning three women and three children, local media report.

Tunisia and neighbouring Libya are key departure points for migrants and refugees seeking to reach European shores.
Tunisia and neighbouring Libya are key departure points for migrants and refugees seeking to reach European shores. (AP)

Six people have died off the coast of Tunisia after a boat carrying 30 Tunisian nationals capsized. 

Those drowned included three women and three children, state news agency TAP reported on Tuesday. The boat capsized as it was attempting to sail from Tunisia to Italy. 

The Tunisian coast guard and navy were able to rescue 20 people, while the search for other survivors is ongoing.

READ MORE: Dozens missing in Mediterranean as migrant boat sinks off Tunisia

Deadly crossings 

Tunisia and neighbouring Libya are key departure points for migrants and refugees seeking to reach European shores, often in vessels that are barely seaworthy.

The Italian island of Lampedusa is only about 130 kilometres from Tunisia's coast.

Nearly 2,000 migrants drowned or went missing in the Mediterranean in 2021, compared to 1,401 in 2020,  according to the International Organization for Migration. 

READ MORE: Dozen dead, many missing as refugee boats sink off Tunisia

Source: TRTWorld and agencies