British artist Banksy has funded an independent lifeboat that patrols the Mediterranean for refugees in distress.
Banksy’s involvement in the rescue mission goes back to September 2019, when he sent an email to Pia Klemp, a former captain of several NGO boats that have rescued thousands of people over recent years.
The lifeboat Louise Michel, named after a French feminist anarchist, is a former French Navy boat customised to perform search and rescue and sails under a German flag. Measuring 30 meters in length and capable of over 28 knots, bought with proceeds from the sale of a Banksy migrant artwork.
The migrant crisis means that European states are instructing their Coastguard not to answer distress calls from ‘non-Europeans’ leaving desperate people to drift helplessly at sea. To make matters worse authorities prevent other boats from providing assistance, arresting crews and impounding boats that do. So Banksy bought an independent high-speed boat to outrun them.
The bright pink vessel is decorated with Banksy artwork depicting a girl in a life vest holding a heart-shaped safety buoy, referencing his most famous artwork ‘Girl with Balloon’.
M.V. Louise Michel has already rescued 89 refugees in distress on Thursday, as it set off in secret on 18th August from the Spanish seaport of Burriana, near Valencia.
If you would like to support the brave missions of the Louise Michel Lifeboat, please donate here. Donations will go towards mission-related costs such as medical supplies, SAR equipment, legal fees, boat maintenance, fuel and food so the Louise Michel Lifeboat can continue to save lives.
Stand in Solidarity And Resistance.
Photos courtesy of Louise Michel