British ‘artist’ Banksy has provided the funds to support a refugee rescue boat operating in the Mediterranean according to reports from the UK overnight.
Carrying the name ‘Louise Michel’ the boat was supposedly purchased with money earned following the sales of some of the controversial street artist’s works, and is reported as having already rescued almost 100 individuals found floating offshore earlier in the week.
Those rescued were taken from a large rubber inflatable having departed an undisclosed destination, presumably on the north African coast.
Cross Mediterranean refugee routes have in recent years seen hundred of thousands of illegal immigrants land on the shores of southern Europe in search of a better life; many however, risking their lives in overcrowded and dangerous vessels and rafts in the process.
Around 40,000 are believed to have made the journey this year alone with an estimated 450 perishing in the process.
It is understood the ‘Banksy boat’ is a former French naval vessel named the Suroit, crewed by a team following a “flat hierarchy and a vegan diet” according to one British media source.
“We on board the Louise Michel* believe we are all individuals, nationality should not make a difference to what rights one has and how we treat each other,” the website of the boat says.
“We answer the SOS call of all those in distress, not just to save their souls – but our own.”
- Louise Michel was a late 19th / early 20th century French anarchist