Some 170 people are missing after two shipwrecks on the Mediterreanean, according to reports.

One dinghy was spotted by Italian authorities sinking on Friday in rough waters - three survivors were later picked up and said they were part of a group of 120 people, mainly from West Africa, who had left Libya on Thursday night.

In another incident, 53 migrants who had departed from Morocco on another dinghy were reported missing after a collision in the western Mediterreanean.

UNHCR said on Saturday it had been unable to independently verify the death tolls from the shipwrecks.

Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said the "tragedy of the Mediterranean" cannot be allowed to continue.

“We cannot turn a blind eye to the high numbers of people dying on Europe’s doorstep. No effort should be spared, or prevented, from saving lives in distress at sea.”

Some 2,262 people lost their lives attempting to reach Europe via the Mediterranean Sea, according to UNHCR which has expressed concerns that some countries are increasingly deterring NGOs from carrying out search and rescue operations.