It might seem incredible there is need for a homemade emergency vehicle in one of Europe’s busiest waterways, but there is. In response to the crisis on the Mediterranean, European states instruct their Coastguard not to answer distress calls from ‘non-Europeans’ leaving desperate people to drift helplessly at sea. To make matters worse authorities prevent other boats from providing assistance, arresting crews and impounding boats that do.
The Louise Michel is a former French Navy boat we’ve customised to perform search and rescue. She is as agile as she is pink. Measuring 30 meters in length and capable of over 28 knots, she was bought with proceeds from the sale of Banksy artwork – who then decorated her with a fire extinguisher. She is captained and crewed by a team of rescue professionals drawn from across Europe. She runs on a flat hierarchy and a vegan diet.
To uphold maritime law and rescue anyone in peril without prejudice. We onboard the Louise Michel believe we are all individuals, nationality should not make a difference to what rights one has and how we treat each other. We answer the SOS call of all those in distress, not just to save their souls – but our own.