On Friday, a European alt-right group found itself stranded out in the Mediterranean Sea on a boat that it had turned into a floating anti-immigration protest—prompting a rescue mission from none other than a refugee aid boat, the Independent reports.
The C-Star boat—helmed by a far-right German group called Defend Europe—suffered a mechanical failure on Friday that left it without a working engine. That’s when the folks aboard the Sea-Eye, which has saved hundreds of migrants in the region, were dispatched to save the protestors on board, the Guardian reports.
“Sea-Eye took on a course towards the C-Star and got in contact with the right-wing extremists but they refused any help,” a spokesperson for Sea-Eye told the Independent. “On the instructions of the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, the Sea-Eye continued its search for shipwrecks and drownings.”
This isn’t the first time the C-Star—which sailed to the Mediterranean to deter migrants from reaching Europe—has run into rough waters, according to Buzzfeed News. The vessel’s crowdfunding page was shut down by its host website, its captain got picked up by the authorities, and the ship itself was detained in the Suez Canal amid accusations of human trafficking.
Defend Europe has labeled the rescuers fighting to save the lives of thousands of migrants crossing the Mediterranean “criminals,” and claimed their effort to aid the migrants is part of an “invasion” of Europe, the Independent reports. As far as their own vessel is concerned, the group has stressed that everything onboard is under control.
“C-Star developed a minor technical problem during the night,” the group wrote in a statement. “We’re resolving it. No distress.”
Defend Europe has accused Sea-Eye—among a host of other NGOs saving migrants from drowning—of “colluding” with Libyan human traffickers to smuggle immigrants into Europe. Still, Sea-Eye chairman Michael Buschheuer said he didn’t hesitate to give the C-Star a hand.
“To help those who are in distress is the duty of everyone who is at sea,” Buschheuer told the Independent. “No matter their origins, skin color, religion, or views.”
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