A boat carrying at roughly 600 migrants and refugees has capsized in the Mediterranean off the coast of Egypt, killing 29.

Officials said the 29 bodies were recovered off after the boat sank off the coast near a village in Beheira province. The 18 men, 10 women and one child perished because the boat appeared to be overfull.

"Initial information indicates that the boat sank because it was carrying more people than its limit. The boat tilted and the migrants fell into the water," a senior security official in Beheira told Reuters.

Of those plucked from the water, those rescued were said to be of Egyptian, Syrian, and sub-Saharan African origin.

Some 206,400 migrants and refugees have crossed the Mediterranean this year, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) but crossings from Egypt remain relatively rare. Roughly 2,000 recorded as having crossed from the Arab republic over the same period.

Joel Millman, a spokesman for the IOM, told IBTimes UK the number of crossings were up as too were the number of refugees arriving from Egypt. "Egypt as a departure point is a little more commplace than it was, but still dwarfed by Libya. We've seen leaving Egyptians in larger numbers arriving in Italy," he said.

"We have also been cautioned over the years that many people who say they are Egyptian or have Egyptian documents aren't," he added.

The rise in boats leaving Egypt is not the result of people smugglers expanding from war-torn Libya but is simply the result of more refugees arriving there. "We believe that what we see in all of these countries, across the Mediterranean and pretty much across the world, is that migrants are using criminals of their own nationalities and ethnicities," Millman said.

"Generally those people who control the coast are from organised crime groups in the actual countries they are leaving from," he added.

Some 320 migrants and refugees drowned off the Greek island of Crete in June. Migrants who survived told authorities their boat set sail from Egypt.

It is not known where this most recent vessel was headed. Refugees and migrants have moved between Cyprus, Malta and Turkey from Egypt as well as hoping to reach Italy. It is believed many who leave the country are never properly tracked.