Two migrants rescued by a ship watch a boat being rescued in the Mediterranean. - Pablo Garcia / AFP

News from Banksy and, this time, relatively far from his favorite fields. Thursday, the Guardian noted that the British street-artist had financed a boat, the Louise-Michel , intended to rescue migrants who try to reach Europe by crossing the Mediterranean.

The project has long been kept secret so as not to be thwarted by the authorities, says the Guardian . But the Louise-Michel , a former French customs officer, is afloat, with a dozen sailors on board led by Pia Klemp. This German human rights activist is known for having driven several other rescue ships, including the  Sea-Watch 3 , but also for refusing to be decorated by the city of Paris, which she said she disagreed with migration policy.

Painted in bright pink, decorated with hearts. Here is the "Louise Michel", financed by Banksy, piloted by the anti-fascist navigator Pia Klemp, with a crew of activists. She was secretly chartered to rescue refugees in the Mediterranean

- Arnaud Ferrat (@arnoferrat) August 27, 2020

Painted in pink and decorated with an artist's graffiti

At 31 meters long, the Louise-Michel is smaller than the ships of other NGOs fulfilling the same mission, but is on the other hand much faster. A big advantage to escape the Libyan coast guard, says the Guardian .

Painted pink and adorned with an artist's graffiti, the ship left on August 18, from the Spanish port of Borriana, near Valencia and is now in the middle of the Mediterranean. He has even taken part in rescue operations, including one on Thursday, recovering 99 people, including 14 women and four children whom he is now seeking to disembark in a safe seaport or transfer to a coast guard ship. Europeans.

An appreciated “pink reinforcement”

The recently created Twitter account in the name of the boat also published a photo, "in a very rough sea", of an operation to assist the Sea-Watch 4, another humanitarian vessel of the NGOs Médecins sans frontières and Sea- Watch, present in the area since mid-August, specifies Le Monde . For its part, still on Twitter, Sea-Watch welcomed "this pink reinforcement". "" GO! a boat sponsored by Banksy and painted by him, an experienced team from all over Europe, the  Louise-Michel  has already secured two Sea-Watch 4 rescue operations and has now rescued 89 people on her own ”, details the 'NGO.

Yesterday morning, #LouiseMichel responded to a distress call from #Moonbird air reconnaissance plane.
89 people were rescued and brought on board Louise Michel. The survivors need a Place of Safety now. # SolidarityAndResistance

- LouiseMichel (@MVLouiseMichel) August 28, 2020

Banksy, who funded the project, is not part of the crew. The history of this project dates back to September 2019, tells the  Guardian , when Banksy contacts Pia Klemp, explaining to her that she read her story in the newspapers. “You look like a badass,” he wrote in an email viewed by The  Guardian . I'm an artist from UK working on the migrant crisis obviously I can't keep the money. Could you use it to buy a new boat or something like that? Please, keep me informed. Banksy. "


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