At least eight migrants have died as their boat sank after a collision with a Tunisian military ship off the Kerkennah archipelago on Sunday evening, the Ministry of Defence reported on Monday.

According to the International Organisation for Migration, this tragedy has occurred as the number of departures from Tunisia to Italy has continued to increase significantly in the recent weeks.

A vessel of the Tunisian navy "approached on Sunday evening an unidentified craft 54 km from (the main island of) Kerkennah and the boat collided with the military ship resulting in the sinking of the latter", the spokesman of the ministry, Belhassen Oueslati told AFP.

The Tunisian navy has rescued 38 survivors, all of them Tunisians, as well as eight corpses, he said. The survivors have been repatriated to a military base in Sfax, a large coastal town in the south-east.

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