World-famous British street artist Banksy has a long history shrouded in mystery. 

If you’ve never heard the name, do yourself a favor and learn more about Banksy here

Late last week, the Guardian revealed that Banksy has financed a boat to rescue refugees attempting to reach Europe from North Africa. 

It’s reported that the vessel is named Louise Michel, after a prominent feminist anarchist. 

The Louise Michel, adorned in splashes of pink paint and some of Banksy’s iconic artwork, secretly set sail on August 18th in the Mediterranean. 

Its crew of European activists has extensive experience in search and rescue operations.

Even though the ship has only been out to sea for a few weeks, they have already rescued hundreds of refugees; mostly women and children.

This past Saturday the Italian Coastguard sent emergency help to the Louise Michel after a distress call. The ship had taken on over 200 refugees and could no longer operate under the added weight.

Help was received in time and all those aboard are now safely located on additional ships.

Due to a tangled mess of politics and legislation, many EU countries turn a blind eye to the struggles of refugees fleeing unsafe conditions in Africa. 

So far in 2020, more than 500 refugees (that we know of) have died in the Mediterranean sea. The real number is probably considerably higher. 

Activists, like Banksy and the crew of the Louise Michel, are taking matters into their own hands where human lives are concerned.

And their efforts are not going unnoticed.

In response to their work, the International Organisation for Migration and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said in a joint statement they were “deeply concerned about the continued absence of dedicated EU-led search and rescue capacity in the Central Mediterranean”.

“The humanitarian imperative of saving lives should not be penalized or stigmatized, especially in the absence of dedicated state-led efforts.”