Between 200 and 270 refugees escaping war-torn Libya have disappeared and have likely drowned, Tunisian authorities announced on Thursday.  The Tunisian coast guard saved nearly 600 emigrants from the vessel, which sources say was in poor repair.

Investigations into the whereabouts of the disappeared passengers were not carried out due to weather conditions, an officer in the Tunisian military assisting in the operation told Agence France-Presse.

The passengers, reportedly coming from a refugee camp in Tunisia's South and near the Tuniso-Libyan border, were en route to Lampedusa, an island off the Italian coast, just across the Mediterranean, what has been a popular destination for Libyans escaping the civil war between rebels and Gaddafi forces at home.  

The United Nations reports that some 893,000 persons have escaped Libya by boat since February , 1,200 of which have attempted to escape by boat.