Beirut, Lebanon (CNN) -- A U.N. maritime task force was scouring the stormy waters off the coast of northern Lebanon Friday, searching for survivors from a livestock carrier that sank the night before.
"The operation that commenced last evening continued through the night in difficult weather conditions," said a statement from the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).
As of 3:15 p.m. local time Friday, rescuers had found 42 survivors and four bodies, according to a release from UNIFIL. Four of the survivors were sailors who were picked up by other ships.
The Lebanese navy said there were 83 people aboard the cargo ship that was packed with sheep and other livestock.
The Panamanian-flagged carrier, the "Danny F II," sank about 12 miles off the coast of Tripoli.
The Lebanese navy sent a distress signal to UNIFIL indicating the ship had capsized Thursday night, the U.N. task force said.
"UNIFIL Maritime Task Force immediately responded to the location with three ships, the frigate 'Zeffiro' (Italy), mine hunter 'Laboe' (Germany) and supply ship 'Mosel' (Germany), that have since been engaged in the search and rescue operations in collaboration with the Lebanese Navy," Friday's statement said.
Searchers said the survivors, who are of different nationalities, received medical treatment on board UNIFIL ships before being taken ashore.
CNN's Nada Husseini contributed to this report