The bodies washed ashore overnight but there was apparently no sign of a wrecked boat.

Footage released by the Libyan coastguard shows the rubber boat with no engine, raising concerns that people smugglers might have deliberately removed it. A torn rubber dinghy was reportedly found nearby.

"This is going to be even more disastrous to the migrants", Gassim added.

Past year a record 181,000 refugees crossed between Libya and Italy.

Leggeri stated last week that the migrant deaths along the central Mediterranean route now stands at 4,579 from a year ago, a figure that is likely to be less than the true loss of life suffered. That's compared to 2,869 deaths in 2015 and 3,161 in 2014.

In January, Frontex recorded 228 drowning deaths, the largest monthly toll in recent years.

Frontex head Fabrice Leggeri last week said that despite such agreements, the European Union should not expect a drop in the number of migrants and refugees making their way through Libya en route to Europe.

Volunteers recover the bodies near Zawiya, Libya. Workers from the local Red Crescent Society, the equivalent of the Red Cross, covered the bodies on the beach. "There are still bodies floating in the sea and we couldn't reach them", it said.

Children on the move and other migrants are being placed in extreme danger by reckless EU plans to outsource human rights responsibilities to Libya, a group of NGOs - including Terre des Hommes - said in a letter to European leaders today. Most departures take place from the west of Libya, usually heading for Italy 300 kilometres (190 miles) away across the Mediterranean.

The country sank into lawlessness after the 2011 uprising that turned into a full-blown civil war which led to the toppling and killing of long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi.