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Banksy Finances a Mediterranean Refugee Rescue Boat

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 31, 2020

Meet the M.V. Louise Michel, a rescue boat operating in the Mediterranean Sea that answers emergency calls from “non-Europeans” seeking refuge in Europe from war, persecution, and authoritarian governments.

Banksy Louise Michel

Here’s the stated mission of the vessel’s crew:

To uphold maritime law and rescue anyone in peril without prejudice. We onboard the Louise Michel believe we are all individuals, nationality should not make a difference to what rights one has and how we treat each other. We answer the SOS call of all those in distress, not just to save their souls — but our own.

According to the Guardian, the project came about when Banksy reached out to experienced activist and experienced rescue boat captain Pia Klemp via email:

Hello Pia, I’ve read about your story in the papers. You sound like a badass,” he wrote. “I am an artist from the UK and I’ve made some work about the migrant crisis, obviously I can’t keep the money. Could you use it to buy a new boat or something? Please let me know. Well done. Banksy.