UPDATE: Defend Europe’s technical problem has been resolved and they are once again on their way
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.
The NGO, Sea-Eye, posted a statement on their Facebook page saying they had been told by authorities to come to the rescue of the C-Star.
It reads: “Since Our cutter Sea-Eye is closest to the C-Star, we have been instructed by the MRCC Rome (the emergency service for the Western Mediterranean) to get the ship to help.
“The Sea-eye is currently on the way to the C-Star.“
Sea-Eye founder, Michael Busch Heuer, said: “To help in distress is the duty of anyone who is at sea, without distinction to their origin, colour, religion or beliefs.”
Defend Europe has played down the incident.
HuffPost UK reported yesterday how the C-Star had been unusually quiet for the last few days as it hovered around the coast of Tunisia, far from its intended target of the search and rescue zones near the Libyan shore
The last update from aboard the boat was a picture posted on Twitter five days ago, showing the crew shouting at a boat through a megaphone.
The mission has been plagued by setbacks and mishaps including, ironically, accusations of people-smuggling.
The ship was also detained in the port of Famagusta after at least 20 Sri Lankan nationals were found on board and the ship’s crew and owner, Sven Tomas Egerstrom, appeared in court charged with preparing and circulating false documents.
They were later released.
Defend Europe are part of the young, media-savvy Identitarian movement which says it wants to preserve Europe’s identity and calls for an end to immigration and multiculturalism.
Rather than saving the lives of desperate migrants setting sail from war-torn Libya, the group sees NGOs as enabling people-traffickers by “acting as a taxi service”.
Through crowd-funding the group has raised £154,000 to charter the C-Star in order to “document and observe of the doings of those NGOs”.
Defend Europe’s mission is to “achieve a complete documentation and observation of the doings of those NGOs” with the ultimate aim of stopping them operating in the Mediterranean.