Updated 5.30pm with Alleanza Bidla statement
The Nationalist Party said today that it backs the government's decision to ban the C-Star ship from Maltese waters.
The controversial vessel, labelled by the European Parliament as “the ship of hate”, is owned by right-wing group Defend Europe, which claims to be on a mission to “defend Europe against illegal immigration”. It has been outside Maltese territorial waters since last week.
The PN said the ship's only purpose was to spread extremist messages.
"Our values of tolerance and solidarity should triumph over the extremism and racism which the promoters of the C-Star convey," the party said.
The PN called for consistency by the prime minister, saying that while this decision was a good one, Dr Muscat took 'dubious' decisions in the past few weeks which lacked the value of solidarity. It did not specify.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat yesterday defended the government’s decision to deny the C-Star entry by labelling the organisation operating it “racist, if not nazi”. The decision was welcomed by a number of NGOs.
Meanwhile, anti-migrant group Moviment Patrijotti Maltin has taken it upon itself to supply the C-Star with food and water, criticising the government for banning its entry into Maltese waters.
Maritime industry sources said the group was delivering supplies using private boats
Members of Moviment Patrijotti Maltin have, over the past few days, taken to social media, appealing for anyone who wishes to donate food, water and money to be given to those on board the vessel to come forward. They argued that the Maltese never abandoned anyone in need and this case should be no different.
Contacted yesterday, members said supplies were being collected, adding that some had already been delivered.
Maritime industry sources said the group was supplying the food and water using private boats. When asked about this, the group members who spoke to this newspaper skirted the question.
They would not say whether any funds had been delivered, but posts on the group’s Facebook page urge donors to “give a small donation”, because funds were being “urgently collected”.
According to Defend Europe, not all locals agree with the government’s stance. In a tweet on Saturday, the right-wing group thanked those who had “passed by to show their support”.
As it sails across the Mediterranean draped in anti-migrant banners, the ship has on more than on occasion made headlines. In July, the Italians called on their Transport Minister to stop the ship from docking in Catania. Later that month, the C-Star was detained in Cyprus and then turned away with its crew after discrepancies emerged on the status of a group of Sri Lankans on board.
Just last week, the ship faced technical problems and was offered assistance by the humanitarian refugee rescue vessel Golfo Azzurro, one of the ships the organisation has vowed to stop.
Defend Europe is a branch of the white nationalist Identitarian movement, which started in France in 2002.
Alleanza Bidla stands with government
Alleanza Bidla later today declared its support for the government’s decision to ban entry into Maltese waters of the C-Star, condemning the far right and racist stance the ship represents, "as well as the indifference to the plight of genuine refugees risking their lives to seek a better future".