The SOS was made by satellite phone to an Eritrean journalist living in Sweden, who forwarded the information to the Italy-based Habeshia refugee agency which in turn passed it to the Italian coast guard authorities.
The boat, which departed from Libya, has reportedly been drifting for four days and is said to be taking in water.
The AFM is believed to be involved in the search for the boat, with patrol boat P-61 deployed to the area, along with a maritime patrol aircraft.
Meanwhile 81 migrants from sub-Saharan Africa arrived on the Sicilian island of Lampedusa this morning after being rescued by the Italian coast guard off the coast of Libya in response to a similar distress call. The group includes seven women, one of whom is pregnant. All are said to be in good health.
(Source: Malta Star)