Banksy funds boat to rescue refugees at sea

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Louise Michel, Banksy refugee rescue boatImage copyright
Louise Michel/PA Wire

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The former French Navy vessel has been relaunched as the Louise Michel

Banksy has funded a rescue boat to save refugees encountering danger in the Mediterranean Sea.

The boat, named the Louise Michel, was bought with proceeds from some of the Bristol street artist’s works.

It has already carried out a number of rescue missions, taking on board 89 people from a rubber boat on Tuesday, according to its Twitter account.

The vessel features a painting depicting a young girl holding on to a heart-shaped safety float.

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Louise Michel/PA Wire

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The Louise Michel took on board people from a rubber boat after receiving a distress call on Tuesday

Banksy repainted the former French Navy boat in distinctive white and pink and launched it under its new guise last week.

The Louise Michel is named after a 19th Century French anarchist and is captained by a professional crew with a “flat hierarchy and a vegan diet”.

The vessel’s mission statement is “to uphold maritime law and rescue anyone in peril without prejudice”.

“We on board 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,” it says on its website.

“We answer the SOS call of all those in distress, not just to save their souls – but our own.”

Image copyright
Louise Michel/PA Wire

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A total of 89 people were brought on board the boat after a rescue mission earlier this week

According to UN data, 443 people have died or gone missing attempting to cross the Mediterranean from north Africa so far in 2020.

Just over 40,000 have arrived in Europe by sea during the same period.

Banksy’s representatives have been contacted for comment.

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