Right-wing activists held up a 'Defend Europe' banner outside the Prime Minister's office this afternoon, hours after telling Joseph Muscat they were coming to Malta "whether you like it or not."
C-Star crew members posed for a photo outside Castille and said they had "won" their stand-off with the Maltese government, despite their ship remaining outside Maltese waters.
Crew members said they would be entering Malta in a video posted to Twitter this morning. In the video, six male crew members accused Dr Muscat of being a "hypocrite" and said Malta had become a global "headquarters" for illegal immigration, as dramatic music played in the background.
The C-Star has spent much of the past week to the east of Malta, just outside its territorial waters. It was denied entry to Malta last week, with the Prime Minister saying the government wanted nothing to do with extremist organisations. The PN backed the decision.
In comments earlier this morning, a government spokesman said that stance had not changed. But Defend Europe activists nevertheless made it to Maltese shores, leaving their controversial vessel behind them.
"He [Muscat] wanted to deny us water and entrance to Malta and, like all the others, he failed miserably," they wrote on Facebook. "We cannot be stopped. We are growing stronger and they are getting weaker everyday."
A government spokesman noted that the C-Star had remained stranded outside Maltese waters.
“It is unclear how they came in. As individuals they have a right to enter if they have a European passport," the spokesman said.
“What remains very clear to us is that the vessel never came to Malta and that our message was crystal clear that we reject as a country all that they stand for.”
'Ship of hate'
Dubbed the 'ship of hate' by the European Parliament, the C-Star spent five weeks sailing the Mediterranean in an attempt to block the rescue of migrants from the Mediterranean Sea, saying NGOs are aiding and abetting an "invasion" of the European continent.
The crew was led by 28-year-old Austrian Martin Sellner, with others from Italy, Germany, and France - all in their 20s - also aboard.
Mr Sellner has described Defend Europe's mission as "the worst nightmare of leftists, [billionaire investor George] Soros and the NGO lobby."
Having spent five weeks at sea, the crew members will now return to their respective homes, though the group said that "Defend Europe will go on."
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