Banksy funds refugee rescue boat operating in Mediterranean


Banksy's involvement in the rescue mission goes back to September 2019 when he sent an email to Pia Klemp, the former captain of several NGO boats that have rescued thousands of people over recent years.

"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."

Klemp, who initially thought it was a joke, believes she was chosen by Banksy due to her political stance. "I don't see sea rescue as a humanitarian action, but as part of an anti-fascist fight," she told the Guardian.

She has made clear that Banksy's involvement in the operations is limited to providing financial support. "Banksy won't pretend that he knows better than us how to run a ship, and we won't pretend to be artists."

With a top speed of 27 knots, the Louise Michel would be able to "hopefully outrun the so-called Libyan coastguard before they get to boats with refugees and migrants and pull them back to the detention camps in Libya", said Klemp. [...]

According to the International Organization for Migration, more than 7,600 migrants have been intercepted so far this year and returned to Libya, a war-torn country where different political factions continue to struggle for power. Often confined to informal camps, the situation for migrants in Libya is desperate, with acts of systematic torture and rape long documented by human rights organisations.

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