Following a period of suspicious inactivity off the Tunisian coast, the C-Star vessel of the “Defend Europe” mission has come back into the spotlight. The ship, which aimed to disrupt the work of search-and-rescue (SAR) ships saving migrants and refugees in the Mediterranean Sea, has sent out a distress signal due to “technical difficulties”.
Ironically, the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in Rome who coordinate the SAR missions, then asked the SAR ship Sea-Eye to come to the aid of the beleaguered far-right activists.
Sea-Eye’s founder, Michael Busch-Heuer, said in a Facebook statement that: “To help in distress is the duty of anyone who is at sea, without distinction to their origin, colour, religion or beliefs.”
Defend Europe tweeted the following explaining the “technical difficulty” leading to the distress signal:
— Defend Europe (@DefendEuropeID) August 11, 2017
Despite the irony of the C-Star requiring assistance from the very NGO ships they so desperately want to be removed from the Mediterranean Sea, there is a much more serious issue at play here.
We have long been worried about the state of the C-Star and its fitness to carry out the dangerous Defend Europe mission. We have spoken to numerous maritime experts who have studied hundreds of images of the vessel and raised serious concerns regarding the ship being substandard.
As such HOPE not hate has drawn up a formal complaint and request for an immediate inspection known as a Port State Control Inspection and will be reminding all port States have an obligation under the Paris Memorandum of Understanding (Paris MoU) to prevent the operation of substandard ships.
Alongside anti-racists groups from across Europe HOPE not hate have helped undermine Defend Europe at every turn. From defunding their mission and revealing their ship’s owner’s criminal past, to helping close numerous ports to their ship and delaying them to the point that they have had to pay unprecedented amounts for their fuel, we have shown that their ineptitude and naivety knows no end.
We will be distributing this formal complaint to the relevant authorities and will continue to work with Port Authorities in the Mediterranean.
Both the mission and now – as is increasingly obvious – the ship itself, is a danger to both themselves, others operating in the Mediterranean Sea and the very refugees they claim to be saving.
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