Published: Sat, August 12, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Anti-migrant ship ignores help from rescue activists

Anti-migrant ship ignores help from rescue activists

According to Sea-Eye, a non-governmental organisation, Italian officials instructed the rescue boat to aid the stranded vessel.

"To help a ship in distress is the duty of anyone at sea, without regard for their origin, race, religion or beliefs", said Mr Buchheuer.

Defend Europe previously accused Sea-Eye, and other groups, of "colluding" with Libyan human traffickers.

An English-language version of the status provided to BuzzFeed News by Sea-Eye said the C-Star had been "in distress at sea". Defend Europe itself has acknowledged that its true mission is to prevent migration to Europe, and one of the campaign's spokespeople, Martin Sellner, has unabashedly reported that the campaign's plan is to force migrants back to North Africa.

"To help those who are in distress is the duty of everyone who is at sea", said Sea-Eye Chairman Michael Buschheuer in a statement.

Members of the group - which includes a number of young far-right YouTubers - were detained by Italian police in May after Periscoping themselves firing flares at refugee rescue vessels in the Mediterranean.

BuzzFeed News confirmed with a EU NAVFOR spokesperson that the C-Star had been in worldwide waters at the time reported, and that the boat had "experienced an engine breakdown".

"This means that under COLREG the vessel is considered "not under command" and information of this was sent out to vessels nearby in accordance with regulations".

But later Friday a spokesman for C-Star told AFP that the boat, which had only just got going against after being blocked for five days off the coast of Tunisia, simply stopped its engines to resolve a technical problem.

Defend Europe, which is an offshoot of the white nationalist Identitarian movement, claims rescuing refugees from the Mediterranean is an "invasion" endangering the continent.

The ship chartered by Defend Europe has suffered a "minor technical problem" and authorities have ordered one of the very boats the group is campaigning against to rescue it.

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