Some 20 people have been rescued so far and are currently being treated in the hospitals of Tartous province, the minister said.
He added that the ambulance system and the medical emergency staff have been on alert since Thursday afternoon to provide assistance to the survivors of that tragical accident.
For his part, Director General of the Ports Authority, Brigadier-General Samer Kobrosli, said that some 31 dead bodies were found in several coastal areas on Friday.
He added that some were located on the beaches whereas others were pulled from the sea by Directorate ships, which are still carrying out search operations.
Kobrosli revealed that, accoding to what the survivors have said, the ship had left on Tuesday from Lebanon with over 150 people of different nationalities aboard, with the goal of arriving in Italy illegally.
These tragedies often occur with ships that illegally take emigrants, mostly Syrians, from Lebanon to Turkey or other European countries.