Malta’s prime minister has said European waters close to Africa are turning into a cemetery, after another boat laden with migrants capsized.
Joseph Muscat said Malta felt “abandoned” by the rest of Europe and urged the EU to take action.
Malta and Italy launched a rescue operation after a boat capsized on Friday, killing at least 50 people.
It happened 120km (70 miles) off Lampedusa, the Italian island where at least 300 migrants drowned last week.
The loss of life has renewed the debate within EU member states on migration rules.
In the latest incident, the vessel carrying more than 200 migrants is believed to have encountered difficulties in Maltese waters just before sunset on Friday.
The migrants used a satellite phone to raise the alarm but the boat capsized when passengers crowded to one side as they tried to get the attention of a passing aircraft, the Maltese navy said.
The Syrians already in the refugee centre on Lampedusa had spoken to friends and relatives who had boarded the vessel, he says.
One couple who had survived the journey with their nine-month-old daughter said they had spent an hour in the water.
The husband had held the child to his chest to keep her alive, but he had been unable to help his son, who had drowned in front of them.
Earlier on Friday, at least 500 other migrants travelling in separate boats were rescued in coastguard operations near the Italian island of Sicily.
Also on Friday, a separate boat accident off the Egyptian port of Alexandria claimed the lives of at least 12 migrants.