At least 42 illegal African migrants drowned in the Arabian Sea off the southern coast of Yemen late on Sunday, the defence ministry said on its website.
The ministry's September 26 website quoted a local official in Shabwa province as saying the migrants drowned off the coastal town of Bir Ali. A naval patrol managed to rescue 30 other migrants, the source said, and were taking them to a refugee camp in the town of Mayfaa.
African migrants often use unseaworthy boats to try to reach Yemen, seen as a gateway to wealthier parts of the Middle East and the West. Hundreds of migrants have died at sea.
The International Organisation for Migration said in December that more than 7,000 migrants have perished at sea or while crossing deserts trying to reach a safe haven in 2013, believed to be the deadliest year on record.
Of those figures, some 2,000-5,000 Africans are thought to have lost their lives while crossing the Sinai peninsula to Israel and the Gulf of Aden to reach Yemen, although no firm figures were available, the IOM said.