The boat has been in operation since August 18.
Mysterious British street artist Banksy has provided a rescue boat for refugees crossing Mediterranean waters. The aim is to help those fleeing countries before they are intercepted by less empathetic forces.
Banksy’s boat is named after French feminist anarchist Louise Michel. Operating since August 18, the boat set off at Burriana seaport, near Valencia. So far, the initiative has helped 89 people in need. It’s now on the lookout for a safe spot to drop the passengers off.
Banksy’s Louise Michel boat crew is made up of many activists, who have been involved in many other rescue operations. Artwork on the boat shows a girl in a lifevest holding up a safety ring, in the shape of a heart.
Previously, Banksy became involved when he emailed Pia Klemp, a former captain of NGO boats involved in rescue messages.
His email read: “Hello Pia, I’ve read about your story in the papers. You sound like a badass. 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.”
Klemp told The Guardian she believed Banksy’s involvement came as “part of the anti-fascist fight”, and she also said his involvement is limited to financial support: “Banksy won’t pretend that he knows better than us how to run a ship, and we won’t pretend to be artists.”
The International Organization For Migration have said that more than 7,600 refugees from Libya have been intercepted just this year, and returned to the war-torn country they were fleeing from. With the journey across the Mediterranean often being fraught with peril, even one more ship helping to save lives and provide a haven to refugees is invaluable.