Banksy’s Migrant Rescue Ship Seized by Italian Authorities

Banksy’s Migrant Rescue Ship for Helping Migrants Cross the Mediterranean Just Got Seized by the Italian Authorities.

Mar 28, 2023By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
Banksy's Migrant Rescue
The rescue ship funded by British street artist Banksy. Photo: Thomas Lohnes / AFP via Getty Images.


Banksy’s migrant rescue ship met with an unfortunate circumstance. Overall, Italian authorities stopped and seized the boat while crossing the Mediterranean. On the other side, Giorgia Meloni’s government is trying to stop the passage through the Mediterranean by all means. The blockade of the ship’s movement is set for 20 days. The question remains whether the ship will continue to move freely after that.


Banksy’s Migrant Rescue Ship Seized Due to a New Law

Banksy helps fund the operations of the MV Louise Michel, a former French naval boat © Thomas Lohnes/AFP/Getty Images


The ship Banksy used to transport migrants got its name after the anarchist, the MV Louise Michel. Overall, Banksy used his money from sales to acquire it. The Italian Authorities contained the boat without any written explanation. They stopped the movement two days ago, on the island of Sicily, Lampedusa. Activists who managed the operation said the authorities seized the ship successfully, transporting around 200 migrants.


The law enforcement stopped it to a new law that states that ships cannot carry out rescue missions. The crew also commented on the incident: “the only aim of the decree law is the blockage of rescue ships, willingly taking into account the deaths of people on the move”. They also said they will use all means to get rid of this ban.


Banksy shared pictures of the mural and its demise on his Instagram page.(Instagram: Banksy)


This event is the latest in a long-running conflict between the Italian government and humanitarian organizations over deaths at sea. Just a few weeks before, a ship carrying Pakistanis, Iranians and Afghans had sunk. A large number of people died, including children. They drowned just a few meters from the shore.

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Right-wing Prime Minister Wants to Stop the Flow of Migrants

The chest freezer from Banksy’s latest mural, Valentine’s Day Mascara, removed for a second time.


The Italian Prime Minister believes these rescue missions are just an illusion of security.The PM also believes they give the impression that someone can be saved, when in fact it is very dangerous to transport people across the Mediterranean. The Italian right-wing government actually wants to stop the flow of migrants into their country in this way.


At the beginning of 2023, the number of migrants arriving by boat increased drastically compared to 2022. The reason for this is the blocked routes from Turkey, Greece, and Balkans. Complaints also came from the island guard. They said the activists had “complicated, delicate rescue co-ordination work”.


The MV Louise Michel was acquired as a high-speed search and rescue vessel and began its operations in 2020 © Thomas Lohnes/AFP/Getty Images


The ship members had different opinions. “It is super clear that this whole approach is not for the safety of anyone, or the safety of the ships — it’s just about keeping humanitarian rescue ships out of the water”, a Louise Michel crew member said on Sunday. It remains to be seen what the final consequences of the Italian government’s policy will be.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.