Banksy funded rescue boat has now been rescued by Italian coastguards, after the team on the boat, reached out on Twitter for help.
Rescuers and vessel (Source: Euronews)
The boat had sent a distress signal with more than 200 migrants onboard. The signal was sent out, as the boat met came in contact with another vessel, trying to escape the Mediterranean. The German-flagged MV Louise Michel said it was stranded and needed urgent help after lending assistance to a boat that was carrying at least one dead migrant.
The 31-metre (101-foot) vessel's crew said it was overcrowded and unable to move after encountering another boat attempting to cross the expanse of sea dividing Europe and Africa with 130 people on board."There is already one dead person on the boat. We need immediate assistance," the Louise Michel crew wrote on Twitter, saying other migrants had fuel burns and had been at sea for days.
Banksy came to know about the project and more importantly about its captain, Pia Klemp, in September 2019. It is reported that Banksy wrote an email discussing a possible funding for her endeavour. “Hello Pia, I’ve read about your story in the papers. You sound like a badass,” he wrote. “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? Please let me know. Well done. Banksy.”
Banksy has often been heralded as the man of the people. The Bristol based artists identity is unknown, yet his paintings have been world famous. Most notoriously, Banksy was popularised in 2018 as his $1.4 million painting “Girl with Balloon”, shred moments after it was auctioned. Yet, perverse to Banksy’s intentions, it is reported the shredded art is now worth more than it was before, and in more demand!
Banksy funding of migrant rescue boats, follows a body of work which illustrates Europe’s demeanour towards the migrant crisis. The boats artwork, depicting a girl in a life vest holding a heart shaped safety buoy, illustrates Banksy’s anti-establishment approach.
The Italian coastguard patrol boat was launched from Lampedusa Island. "In view of the danger the situation posed, the coastguards sent a patrol boat from Lampedusa... which took on board the 49 people in the most fragile condition -- 32 women, 13 children and four men," the coastguard said in a statement.