The Independent reports:
Volunteers on a German refugee rescue ship have been deployed to help a vessel chartered by far-right activists that became stranded in the Central Mediterranean. Sea-Eye said Italian officials told their crew that the C-Star, operated by an anti-immigration group calling itself Defend Europe, had suffered a mechanical failure and could not manoeuvre.
A spokesperson for Sea-Eye, which is among those Defend Europe has accused of “colluding” with Libyan people smugglers, said it was prepared to offer any aid needed. Michael Buschheuer, the chairman of Sea-Eye, said: “To help a ship in distress is the duty of anyone at sea, without regard for their origin, race, religion or beliefs.” But when his ship approached the crew of the C-Star reportedly refused help.
The group, an offshoot of the white nationalist Identitarian movement, crowdfunded its ship with claims it would target “criminal NGOs… that are nothing less than part of the international human trafficking ring”. Defend Europe claims the rescuing of refugees from the Mediterranean Sea, where more than 2,400 men, women and children have drowned so far this year, is part of an “invasion” endangering the continent.
More from the Guardian:
Defend Europe chartered the C-Star in Djibouti last month after raising €75,000 (£67,000) through crowdfunding. After originally promising to actively block migrant boats, it now says it is “monitoring” rescues in the Mediterranean.
The group – part of a five-year-old movement of young, far-right activists from France, Germany, Austria, Italy and the UK who are opposed to Islam and immigration – accuses NGOs that have rescued about one third of the nearly 100,000 people saved in the Mediterranean this year of illegally working with people smugglers to bring migrants to Europe.
“Sea-Eye took on a course towards the C-Star and got in contact with the right-wing extremists but they refused… https://t.co/OHc5EqAUew
— TheWelcomeGroup Inc. (@TheWelcomeGroup) August 12, 2017
Tunisian fishermen prevent anti-immigrant ship C-Star docking in North African coasthttps://t.co/tO2EG3zNOe
— The Vengeant ® (@TheVengeant) August 11, 2017
— Far Right Watch (@Far_Right_Watch) August 11, 2017
— Dying Continent (@JimMoriarty36) August 6, 2017