Far-right anti-migrant ship told it’s not welcome in Crete

eKathimerini — Dozens of protesters gathered in the town of Ieraptera on the southern Aegean island of Crete on Monday night to rally against the possible arrival of the C-Star, a ship chartered by far-right activists aiming to prevent migrant rescues in the Mediterranean.

The Athens-Macedonia News Agency (ANA-MPA) on Tuesday afternoon reported that the ship was sailing in international waters some 12 nautical miles off the Greek island of Koufonisi and it was not clear whether it was planning to approach the Cretan port of Ierapetra.

At Monday night’s protest, however, Mayor Theodosios Kalantzakis said that the C-Star was not welcome at his town’s port and that Ierapetra’s response to all forms of fascism is “a big ‘no’.”

“I can’t see the passengers themselves having any intention anymore to sail in this area, a place that has shown that fascism will not pass, that has shown solidarity and hospitality to 700 migrants we helped live with dignity when they were in Ierapetra,” the local official said on Tuesday.

According to the ANA-MPA, the town’s displeasure has been conveyed by Greek authorities to the crew of the C-Star and it is unlikely the vessel will attempt an approach.

The Djibouti-flagged C-Star is part of an operation by the far-right Generation Identity movement called Defend Europe, aimed at stopping nongovernmental organizations and national coast guards from rescuing refugees and migrants in the Mediterranean.

After being warned by Italian authorities that their vessel risked being held up by local authorities in the Sicilian port of Catania when they stopped to pick up European activists, the Generation Identity group organised an operation to fly members to Cyprus and embark in secret there, one of its leaders told Euronews.

It is now heading directly towards Libya where its crew hopes to be able to destroy boats used by people smugglers and return any migrants found at sea to the nearest non-European port.