The Academy Award winner wants to transport the vessel, dubbed the Barge of the Lambs, in which an estimated 900 people perished when it sank off the Italian island of Lampedusa in April last year (15), from Sicily to Milan.

The overcrowded vessel capsized after running into a freighter rushing to respond to its distress call.

A court in Catania, Sicily found the migrant boat's Tunisian captain guilty of multiple manslaughter on Tuesday (13Dec16), sentencing him to 18 years in prison, and now, according to editors at Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Inarritu hopes to work with officials at Italy's Ministry of Defence to put the boat on display outside the city's iconic Gothic cathedral in time for Pope Francis' scheduled visit in March (17).

The filmmaker, who called for migrants to be treated with "dignity and respect" in his Best Director acceptance speech at the 2015 Oscars, is in the process of making a short virtual reality film on the subject of immigration.

After exhibiting the vessel for the Catholic leader, the Mexican filmmaker reportedly wants to take the boat, the scene of the Mediterranean's deadliest sea disaster since the Second World War, to cities around the world.

Italy's navy raised the vessel from the sea-bed after government officials promised to give the tragedy's victims decent burials.

Although prosecutors put the number of people slain at around 700, forensic scientists counting body parts placed the dead closer to 900.