The Italian coast guard says a cargo ship has rescued at least 55 migrants from Libyan waters after their rubber dinghy capsized. They say several bodies were spotted in the sea and up to 30 people might be missing.

Coast guard officials said after the dinghy used a satellite phone to request help Sunday afternoon, a Singapore-flagged merchant ship rushed to the scene but the migrants' boat capsized just before its arrival. They said "several" bodies were spotted in the sea and that search efforts were continuing for up to 30 missing. Coast guard officials based in Rome said the dinghy's capacity was about 100 passengers.

Thousands fleeing war or poverty have been arriving weekly in smugglers' boats on Italian shores or needing rescue at sea.