Men gesture heart signs onboard the Banksy-funded MV Louise Michel rescue vessel. Photo: AFP.
All of the migrants on board a rescue ship funded by British street artist Banksy have been transferred to other vessels, the team behind the mission said after their pink-and-white ship carrying more than 200 passengers sent an urgent call for help.
An Italian patrol vessel rushed to the stranded MV Louise Michel in the Mediterranean and took in 49 of the most vulnerable people on Saturday, the coastguard said.
The remaining migrants on board, around 150 people, were received by a vessel chartered by German NGO Sea Watch and medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF), according to tweets from both organisations and the Louise Michel's crew.
"For those most recently embarked, medical assessment is ongoing, with the clinic full & #MSF medics treating people for fuel burns, dehydration, hypothermia & traumatic injuries," the MSF Sea Twitter account said of the situation on board the Sea-Watch 4.
The German-flagged Louise Michel had said it needed aid after helping a boat carrying at least one dead migrant in the sea that divides Africa and Europe.
Its crew said the 31-metre (101-foot) ship had become overcrowded and unable to move, warning that some of the migrants had fuel burns and had been at sea for days.
"Given the danger of the situation, the coastguard sent a patrol boat to Lampedusa which took in 49 people deemed the most fragile, including 32 women, 13 children and four men," said a coastguard statement.
The rescued migrants later said three people had died at sea before the arrival of the Louise Michel.
Banksy, who keeps his identity a secret, explained in an online video that he had bought the boat to help migrants "because EU authorities deliberately ignore distress calls from non-Europeans".
'Lack of reaction'
Sea-Watch 4, which has a clinic on board and is itself in search of a host port, said it was now carrying 350 people after sailing for four hours to help the Louise Michel.
Its crew decided to take action "in the face of the lack of reaction" from the authorities, a Sea Watch spokesman told AFP.
The Louise Michel vessel's crew of 10 had already rescued 89 people from a rubber boat in distress on Thursday.
They had tweeted that there were a total 219 people on board and that they had requested assistance from both the Italian and Maltese authorities.
The boat -- a former French customs vessel named after 19th-century French anarchist Louise Michel -- was around 90 kilometres (55 miles) southeast of Lampedusa on Saturday, according to the global ship tracking website Marine Traffic.
It features a Banksy artwork depicting a girl in a life vest holding a heart-shaped safety buoy.
Its crew is "made up of European activists with long experience in search and rescue operations" and is captained by German human rights activist Pia Klemp, who has also captained other such rescue vessels, The Guardian newspaper reported.
Banksy's involvement in the rescue mission goes back to September 2019 when he sent Klemp an email asking how he could contribute.
Klemp, who initially thought it was a joke, told the paper she believed she was chosen because of her political stance, The Guardian said.
This month, humanitarian organisations said they would resume migrant rescues in the Mediterranean Sea, where none have operated since the rescue ship Ocean Viking docked in Italy in early July.
Six people have been arrested in France over the theft of an artwork by street artist Banksy commemorating the victims of the 2015 Paris attacks that was stolen from the Bataclan concert hall, sources said on Saturday.
The piece, which is a mischievous recreation of Monet’s famous ‘Bridge Over a Pond of Water Lillies,’ is set to become one of the street artist’s most expensive works.
Haafiza Sayed is also a trained interior designer and has worked extensively in this field in the early days of her career.
The book consists of loving two- and three-page essays that describe life on a farm near Plum City, Wisconsin.
Dave Prowse, the British actor behind the menacing black mask of Star Wars villain Darth Vader, has died, his agent Thomas Bowington said Sunday.
The actress also revealed what the coronavirus pandemic has taught her so much. She said that "the way we live and love is what we'll be remembered by."
The Palestinian-Canadian UAE-based author Nour Arab, Founder and Owner of Nour Publishing and Member of Emirates Publishers Association, has broken all records in the children’s literature field by creating a new methodology in her writings.