Maltese activists are up-in-arms after a notorious ship on an operation to block migrants from entering Europe was spotted close to Maltese waters.
The C-Star boat, operated by the vigilante Defend Europe group, is passing by Malta en route to Cyprus after it was denied entry to Catania amid fears that its arrival would be met with protests.
However, the mere fact that it was sighted close to the island was enough to spur local human rights groups – including aditus, Integra and Moviment Graffitti – into pressuring the Maltese government to deny it entry.
“The mission of C-Star is to prevent refugees and other forced migrants from accessing safety and security,” the message reads. “We are calling on the Maltese authorities not to allow the vessel to dock in Malta, and not to cooperate with an organisation that has demonstrated itself to be racist, and with a mission that clearly aims to violate basic human rights.”
The C-Star was deployed to the Mediterranean last month as a response from the far-right to ships operated by human rights NGOs who pick up asylum seekers from their boats and transport them back to Europe.
The ship made international news last week when it suffered a mechanical failure and, in an ironic twist of events, required the help of volunteers on a German refugee rescue ship.