A controversial anti-migrant ship is just outside Maltese territorial waters, although it is not clear where the vessel is heading.
The ship belonging to the Defend Europe movement, the C-Star, has been plagued by controversy for weeks, as it tries to block the rescue of refugees from the Mediterranean Sea, which it described as part of an “invasion” endangering the continent.
And local NGOs have already sounded a warning to the boat to stay away from Malta.
"The mission of C-Star is to prevent refugees and other forced migrants from accessing safety and security. 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," said Maria Pisani from NGO Integra Foundation.
It is still not clear whether the vessel has requested permission to dock in Malta. It is currently travelling at four knots.
The C-Star was described at the European Parliament as the “ship of hate”. Last July, Italians called on their Minister for Transport to stop the ship from docking in Catania, preventing it from setting sail.
At the end of July, it was detained in Cyprus and then turned away with its crew, after discrepancies emerged in the status of a group of Sri Lankans on board. It then faced technical problems a few days ago – and was offered assistance by the humanitarian refugee rescue vessel Golfo Azzurro, one of the ships Dend Europe has vowed to stop.
Just last week, it faced technical problems and was ironically offered assistance by the humanitarian refugee rescue vessel Golfo Azzurro, one of the ships that Defend Europe has vowed to stop.
Defend Europe is a branch of the white nationalist Identitarian movement, which had started in France in 2002.