Italian divers have recovered an additional 38 bodies from the wreck of a boat that was packed with African migrants before it sank off the southern island of Lampedusa last week.

So far, 232 bodies have been brought to the surface since the search began on 3 October.

Rough seas have hampered the operation to recover bodies from the wreck that is submerged in more than 40 metres of water.

Because of its depth, divers are only able to remain on the wreck for a few minutes at a time and the recovery work has been slow

All the bodies from around the ship and on deck have now been recovered, leaving dozens still inside the vessel.

More than 300 people are feared drowned in the disaster, one of the worst single incidents involving economic migrants and refugees attempting the perilous sea crossing from northern Africa to Europe.

The boat, carrying around 500 mainly Eritrean and Somali migrants, capsized and sank, throwing hundreds into the water. Only 155 survivors were rescued.