The newly launched migrant rescue boat funded by Banksy and crewed by an all female team, led by Pia Klemp, has picked up 219 migrants in the Mediterranean and one dead body, however the boat was unable to move due to overcrowding on the deck had to call for immediate assistance late last night. The boat was even forced to deploy one of their life rafts to carry some of the rescued migrants.
According to Reuters, an Italian charity ship, the Mare Jonio, first responded to the call, launching from the Sicilian port of Augusta but it was some distance away from Lampedusa. The Italian coastguard eventually dispatched a patrol boat this morning to pick up 49 of “those considered most vulnerable”, including 32 women and 13 children.
The International Organisation for Migration and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees have issued a joint statement to say they were “deeply concerned about the continued absence of dedicated EU-led search and rescue capacity in the Central Mediterranean.. The humanitarian imperative of saving lives should not be penalized or stigmatized, especially in the absence of dedicated state-led efforts,”