Louise Michel: Migrants rescued by Banksy boat to disembark in Sicily

  • Published
Media caption,

Dozens of migrants were evacuated from the Louise Michel last week

More than 350 migrants have been allowed to leave a rescue ship in the Mediterranean Sea.

The group was transferred to a quarantine vessel off Sicily's coast, rescue organisation Sea-Watch said.

The migrants include 150 people rescued by the Louise Michel, a 31m boat funded by British artist Banksy.

On Saturday, the UN's refugee agency issued an urgent appeal for those onboard the rescue vessels to be allowed to disembark safely.

The Sea-Watch 4 ship arrived in Palermo on Wednesday, 11 days after it took on the first migrants.

Dozens of people later joined from the Louise Michel, after the Italian coastguard evacuated 49 of the most vulnerable from Banksy's ship.

According to the charity Médecins Sans Frontières, around 100 unaccompanied minors were on board the Sea-Watch 4.

MSF's humanitarian affairs advisor accused Italy and Malta of ignoring distress calls at sea and described the situation in the Mediterranean Sea as "dire".

More than 43,000 migrants have arrived in Europe via the Mediterranean since January, according to the UN.

While the number is far lower than at the peak of Europe's migrant crisis in 2015, the crossing remains dangerous: an estimated 554 migrants have died so far this year, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

You may also be interested in:

Media caption,

Migrant mother's dying wish in Libya was to get her children to Europe