The vessel Bon Jovi. CREDIT: Press office of the association
The vessel Bon Jovi. CREDIT: Press office of the association

A group of detainees in the Italian city of Lecce will restore a boat that transported migrants in order to turn it into a symbol for legality. The boat is supposed to bring 'difficult' youth to sea to teach them teamwork and respect for rules.

A boat that brought migrants to Italy will now be transformed into a social service project at a jail in Puglia, a region in the southwest of Italy. Sebastiano Leo, the regional councillor for education, training and labour, presented the project in a press conference.

"The vessel Bon Jovi, which was identified and seized in May 2018 by the finance police 11 miles off Santa Maria di Leuca while carrying 60 migrants of Kurdish, Pakistani, and Indian nationality, among whom were women and many children, will be restored by detainees, becoming a tool for legality and social recovery," Leo said. 

"Bon Jovi will set sail again with difficult youth aboard, who will be taught the essential values of teamwork, facing difficulties, and respect for the rules," Leo said.

A boat as an educational tool 

The boat will be the heart of the laboratory set up at the Lecce jail through 'Workers for the Creation of Wood Products', a project financed by the Puglia region and created by the Calasanzio Culture and Training Association, Alba Mediterranea, the Lecce jail, and Assonautica province of Lecce. 

"The Bon Jovi, once used by traffickers to transport migrants, will set sail again with a new mission: becoming an ambassador of legality and hope. In fact, after the detainees complete restoration work, it will be reused for integration and social inclusion of the disadvantaged, through the educational and therapeutic 'tools' of sailing and the sea," Leo said. 

The sea for learning humility and sacrifice 

"Youth on probation will participate in an experience aboard the boat where, through the help of the associations, they will learn that humility, a sense of limitations, and sacrifice are necessary values," he said. "This is an important project with a very high social value. By refusing to sink, the Bon Jovi will become a symbol for a second chance for everyone. For migrants. For detainees. For people in difficulty. For each of us."

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