Refugee rescue boat sent to help anti-immigrant stranded ship

Defend Europe reportedly refused help.
Defend Europe reportedly refused help. Photo credit: Defend Europe/Facebook

A stranded ship chartered by far-right activists received unlikely help after it became stranded in the central Mediterranean. 

Volunteers on a German refugee rescue ship were deployed to help the C-Star vessel, after the anti-immigrant group calling itself "Defend Europe" suffered a minor mechanical failure. 

According to Sea-Eye, a non-governmental organisation, Italian officials instructed the rescue boat to aid the stranded vessel.

Sea-Eye chairman Michael Buchheuer said it was prepared to assist in any way necessary.

"To help a ship in distress is the duty of anyone at sea, without regard for their origin, race, religion or beliefs," said Mr Buchheuer. 

Defend Europe confirmed the ship was suffering a "minor technical problem" but reportedly refused aid after Sea-Eye got in touch with them. 

The right-wing group, who shares sentiments with the white nationalist Identitarian movement, claimed the rescuing of refugees from the Mediterranean Sea was part of an "invasion" movement.

Humanitarian groups had raised concern over its assembly in the central Mediterranean.