Libya is considering a new law which will allow for the protection of migrants and asylum seekers in Libya.
This comes after a series of incidents where illegal migrants have lost lives at sea and some through unknown circumstances.
A boat with 27 migrants on board, all Egyptians, capsized off Tolmeta (east), an official in the local rescue unit told AFP, without specifying when the boat had capsized.
Five bodies have been recovered, six people have been rescued while the other 16 are missing and presumed dead, the source said.
"The boat was 35 kilometres from the coast, in a rocky area with difficult access, which made it difficult for the rescue team to get there," the source said.
The chaos that followed the fall of Muammar Gaddafi's regime in 2011 has made Libya a preferred route for tens of thousands of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, Arab countries and South Asia, seeking to reach Europe via the Italian coast.
These migrants fall prey to traffickers when they do not die attempting the perilous crossing of the Mediterranean, and Libya is regularly criticised by NGOs for the ill-treatment they receive.
Departures from Libya are most often from the west coast, more rarely from the east coast near the border with Egypt.
Since the beginning of the year, 14,157 migrants have been intercepted and returned to Libya, according to a report by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) published on Monday. At least 216 people have died attempting the crossing and 724 are missing and presumed dead, according to the IOM.