World renowned artist Banksy has funded the cost of a refugee rescue ship in the Mediterranean.
The boat is already operational and responding to distress calls from an air reconnaissance plane spotting refugees whose lives are at risk. Yesterday 89 people were rescued, including 14 women and 4 children - and brought on board. The team on the boat are now looking for a safe port to disembark.
Yesterday morning, #LouiseMichel responded to a distress call from #Moonbird air reconnaissance plane.— LouiseMichel (@MVLouiseMichel) August 28, 2020
89 people were rescued and brought on board Louise Michel. The survivors need a Place of Safety now.#SolidarityAndResistance pic.twitter.com/HWde3hYFqT
The boat is called the Louise Michel – named after a French feminist anarchist – and measures 30 meters in length and capable of over 28 knots. It has been bought with proceeds from the sale of Banksy artwork – and the artist has then decorated her with pink paint using a fire extinguisher. She is captained and crewed by a team of rescue professionals drawn from across Europe.
The Louise Michel official website says:
“It might seem incredible there is need for a homemade emergency vehicle in one of Europe’s busiest waterways, but there is. The migrant crisis means that European states are instructing their Coastguard not to answer distress calls from ‘non-Europeans’ leaving desperate people to drift helplessly at sea. To make matters worse authorities prevent other boats from providing assistance, arresting crews and impounding boats that do.”
Abi Hewitt of Love Welcomes said:
“We are so proud of Banksy - our collaborator of refugee-made unique Welcome mats – he has funded a refugee rescue boat operating in the Mediterranean sea. It is very easy for people to look at the news and complain about refugees, but Banksy sees the humanity in this terrible crisis and then does something about it”.
How can you help?
The M.V. LouiseMichel needs
- Funding to do this work, fight legal cases and replace impounded equipment.
- Help spreading the word about these inhumane policies. #searescueisnotacrime
Photos Courtesy of Louise Michel
The website for the rescue ship says:
“The people at sea are not unlucky casualties of the elements. This crisis is not a natural disaster. It is created by political decisions and a failure of humanity. It cannot be solved by lifeboats. If we want to sustainably stop the drowning we have to stop forcing people onto these boats. So if you want to contribute - speak up against racism, join the movements for climate justice - take any kind of action to defend global respect for all forms of life, near or far.
How societies manage migration is a complex issue that involves us all. But it should never be one that casually dispenses the death penalty.”