The new migrant rescue ship Louise Michel is being sponsored by Banksy | Photo: Sea-Watch International via Twitter
The new migrant rescue ship Louise Michel is being sponsored by Banksy | Photo: Sea-Watch International via Twitter

The famous UK street artist Banksy has sponsored a new migrant rescue boat active in the central Mediterranean. The pink yacht reportedly rescued 89 people on Thursday. It has also helped with two rescue operations carried out by the Sea-Watch 4.

The migrant rescue organization Sea-Watch International tweeted on Thursday that there is a new rescue ship active in the waters between North Africa and Europe. The ship has been sponsored and painted by Banksy, a famous street artist from the UK known for his political graffitis. The boat is named Louise Michel, after a French feminist anarchist.
The Louis Michel secretly set off on its first mission on August 18 from the Spanish port of Burriana, British newspaper Guardian reported. The ship's crew has since helped the Sea-Watch 4 carry out two of its recent rescues, and on Thursday morning, they saved 89 migrants. Among those rescued were 14 women and four children, according to the Guardian.
The German-flagged Louise Michel is a former French customs authorities ship. It is just 31 meters long, much smaller than other NGO rescue ships in the Mediterranean. This means that there is less room for migrants and crew, but the ship is also much faster.

There are ten crew members on board. Pia Klemp is the captain of the ship. Klemp is a former captain of the Iuventa and the Sea-Watch 3. She became well-known as a sea rescue and migrant rights activist in October 2017, when Italian authorities arrested her on charges of aiding illegal immigration.

Klemp told the Guardian that the Louise Michel can “hopefully outrun the so-called Libyan coastguard before they get to boats with refugees and migrants and pull them back to the detention camps in Libya."Pia Klemp has spoken out publicly about the EUs refugee policies  Photo Picture-allianceGeisler-FotopressCHardtSo how did Banksy get involved? 

According to the Guardian report, Banksy emailed Pia Klemp in September 2019, asking whether he could sponsor a new mission. "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?” he wrote.

Banksy is not involved in the day-to-day operations of the ship and is only providing financial support.

With AFP, dpa

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