I can't keep the money
Painted in hot pink and white, the Louise Michel features a Banksy artwork depicting a girl in a life vest holding a heart-shaped safety buoy.
The motor yacht, formerly owned by French customs, is smaller but considerably faster than other charity rescue vessels — enabling it to outrun Libyan coastguard boats, according to The Guardian.
Its crew is "made up of European activists with long experience in search and rescue operations" and is captained by German human rights activist Pia Klemp, who has also captained other such rescue vessels, the paper reported.
Banksy's involvement in the rescue mission goes back to September 2019 when he sent Klemp an email.
"Hello Pia, I've read about your story in the papers. You sound like a badass," Banksy wrote.
"I am an artist from the UK and I've made some work about the migrant crisis, obviously I can't keep the money. Could you use it to buy a new boat or something? Please let me know. Well done. Banksy."
Klemp, who initially thought it was a joke, told the paper she believed she was chosen because of her political stance, The Guardian said.
"I don't see sea rescue as a humanitarian action, but as part of an anti-fascist fight," she told the paper.