Banksy on His Migrant Rescue Boat: 'All Black Lives Matter'

Artist is on a mission to help migrants in distress in Mediterranean Sea, says EU doesn't care
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 29, 2020 9:00 AM CDT
Banksy Bought a Yacht. He's Using It to Save Migrants
A boy waves to the crew of a rescue vessel from the deck of the Louise Michel?rescue vessel, a French patrol boat currently manned by activists and funded by the renowned artist Banksy in the Mediterranean, 50 miles south from Italy's Lampedusa on Friday.   (AP Photo/Santi Palacios)

Street artist Banksy has released a video with a strong political message explaining why he became involved in a search and rescue ship helping migrants in the Mediterranean Sea. "Like most people who make it in the art world, I bought a yacht to cruise the Med," the artist wrote in captions accompanying the video, which was posted to his Instagram on Saturday. "It's a French Navy vessel we converted into a lifeboat." He continued: "Because EU authorities deliberately ignore distress calls from 'non-Europeans.' All Black Lives Matter." The video featured footage of migrants at sea and clips of the vessel, called the MV Louise Michel, which is painted bright pink. The Louise Michel crew has said it's sponsored by Banksy, whose real name remains a mystery. Details of his financial involvement were not available.

The crew has in recent days reported picking up several groups of migrants in the central Mediterranean in what appeared to be its maiden rescue voyage. In a series of tweets over the past few days, the ship's crew has strongly criticized the European Union over its migration policy. It said it contacted both Italian and Maltese coast guards seeking a port to disembark migrants but received no response. The tone of the tweets has grown more urgent in the past 24 hours after the crew reported that the numbers of migrants on board were getting too high, that the ship was essentially stranded, and that the crew was seeking a port to disembark the passengers. It reported women and children were among the dozens on board and in an adjacent dinghy, as well as the corpse of a migrant. In an email Saturday, the crew said the vessel was now heading to Sicily to seek shelter for the migrants.

(Read more Banksy stories.)

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