A rescue boat that's funded by British street artist Banksy has issued urgent calls for help--
saying it is stranded in the Mediterranean and overloaded with migrants whom it has been unable to bring ashore.
The Louise Michel started operating last week and is trying to find a safe port.
It has picked up 219 migrants off the coast of Libya since Thursday.
The boat tweeted overnight and on Saturday, saying its situation was worsening.
"We are reaching a state of emergency. We need immediate assistance," said one tweet, adding that it was also carrying a body bag containing the corpse of one migrant who had died.
An Italian charity ship, the Mare Jonio, said it was leaving the Sicilian port of Augusta to offer assistance.
It said, quote - "Helping these people is a question of life or death".
Two United Nations agencies called for the "urgent disembarkation" of the Louise Michel and two other ships carrying a total of more than 400 migrants in the Mediterranean.
The International Organisation for Migration and the UN High Commission for Refugees said in a joint statement they were "deeply concerned about the continued absence of dedicated EU-led search and rescue capacity in the Central Mediterranean."
The 30-meter-long boat was bought with proceeds from the sale of Banksy artwork.