Banksy-Funded Rescue Vessel Evacuated After Distress Call
The British street artist Banksy has accused European officials of ignoring maritime distress calls from non-Europeans after he helped fund a rescue vessel to assist migrants stranded in the central Mediterranean for days.
Hundreds of migrants were transferred to several rescue ships on Saturday as international aid groups urged European officials to let them come ashore. One of the vessels, the Louise Michel, was funded by Banksy.
“Like most people who make it in the art world, I bought a yacht to cruise the Med.” It continued, “It’s a French navy vessel we converted into a lifeboat because EU authorities deliberately ignore distress calls from ‘non-Europeans.’”
The Louise Michel, a former French patrol boat, has the word “rescue” emblazoned on it in bright pink and features a Banksy painting of a girl in a life jacket stretching her arm toward a heart-shaped safety buoy. The image resembles the artist’s “Girl with Balloon” stencil murals.
The vessel set out from the Spanish port of Burriana on Aug. 18 and has been carrying out rescue missions in the central Mediterranean since Thursday.
Civil rescue boat Sea-Watch 4 pulled more than 150 migrants from the dangerously overcrowded charity rescue boat the Louise Michel and has been granted permission to land at Sicily port tomorrow.
Sea-Watch 4 has some 350 migrants on board after 150 other passengers on that ship were transferred late Saturday and had been looking for a port of disembarkation
Migrants onboard the Sea-Watch 4 civil sea rescue ship celebrate with Sea Watch 4 crew member Rebecca (centre) on sea off the coast of Sicily on Tuesday
Louis Michel boat says RESCUE painted by Banksy