Migrant ‘DIES’ aboard Banksy-funded refugee rescue boat as it is stranded in Mediterranean Sea due to being overcrowded with 219 passengers
- Artist Banksy bought a £860,000 ex-French navy boat and converted it into a migrant rescue vessel
- But the ship has become stranded in the Mediterranean Sea off coast of Malta with 200 people onboard
- Ship’s captain says emergency calls to coastguards for assistance are being ignored
A Banksy-funded refugee rescue boat is stranded in the Mediterranean Sea with a dead migrant onboard after ship’s deck became overcrowded.
Ship leaders are now pleading for help but claim that emergency calls to coast guard for assistance are being ignored.
There are more than 200 people on board the Louise Michel, including 10 crew members, with dozens of migrants suffering from fuels burns and dehydration after days at sea.
The former French navy boat – launched last week featuring a Banksy painting depicting a young girl holding on to a heart-shaped safety float – is currently off the coast of Malta.
Posts from the ship’s twitter account say it is ‘unable to safely move and nobody is coming to our aid’.
A Banksy-funded refugee rescue boat is stranded in the Mediterranean Sea with a dead migrant onboard
There are more than 200 people on board the Louise Michel and one dead body, according to tweets posted from the vessel’s account
The former French navy boat – launched under its new guise last week – was off the coast of Malta on Saturday morning
Those associated with the vessel said it cannot safely move because of an overcrowded deck.
One tweet said: ‘#LouiseMichel is unable to move, she is no longer the master of her manoeuver, due to her overcrowded deck and a life raft deployed at her side, but above all due to Europe ignoring our emergency calls for immediate assistance. The responsible authorities remain unresponsive.’
Another read: ‘We repeat, #LouiseMichel is unable to safely move and nobody is coming to our aid. The people rescued have experienced extreme trauma, it’s time for them to be brought to a #PlaceOfSafety. We need immediate assistance.’
A summary of a series of calls for assistance to various authorities was also posted, but they got no answer or were told there was no assistance available, the account said.
Crew members and rescued workers stand on the deck of the Louise Michel as their mission to rescue migrants is halted after the boat became overcrowded
The vessel has already carried out a number of rescue missions, according to its Twitter account, and on Friday evening said it had assisted another 130 people, including many women and children.
At that point it said it was ‘safeguarding 219 people with a crew of 10’. An earlier tweet said there was ‘already one dead person on the boat’.
The vessel was bought with the proceeds of some of Banksy’s works and is captained by a professional crew with a ‘flat hierarchy and a vegan diet’.
The Guardian reported that the British street artist first made contact with Pia Klemp, an experienced captain of a number NGO boats, in September 2019 asking to help.
The project aims to help fill a void left by European authorities, who the organisers say are ‘leaving desperate people to drift helplessly at sea’.
The Louise Michel’s mission statement is ‘to uphold maritime law and rescue anyone in peril without prejudice’.