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Banksy's Migrant Rescue Ship Detained in Italy

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

July 3, 2024


(Photo: LouiseMichel)

A rescue ship funded by British street artist Banksy has been grounded at port for 20 days for ignoring migrant disembarkation orders from Italian authorities, the charity running the vessel said on Wednesday.

The Louise Michel ship had been told to take 37 people rescued at sea to Pozzallo in Sicily, but instead took them to the island of Lampedusa, saying the sea was too rough to reach its prescribed destination.

"Our rescue ship MV Louise Michel has been detained for 20 days in the port of Lampedusa," the Louise Michel charity wrote on X. "We were informed that the ship is now detained for not following the order to disembark in Sicily," it added.

Italy's right-wing government has faced criticism for restricting the activities of charity rescue ships, including orders to take migrants to distant ports, increasing their fuel costs and taking them away from search and rescue areas.

Banksy, who keeps his identity secret, is known for his social and political activism. The charity and the 30-metre-long rescue vessel he is sponsoring are named after Louise Michel, a 19th century French feminist anarchist.

(Reuters - Reporting by Romolo Tosiani; Editing by Alvise Armellini and Tomasz Janowski)