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Dozens protest to stop anti-immigrant ship C Star from docking to Crete

Dozens of Greeks marched through the city of Ierapetra on the island of Crete against the possibility of the arrival of  C Star, a ship chartered by the far-right European network “Generation Identity” (GI)  promoting an operation they call Defend Europe. The group claims to target the halt of sea rescue of refugees and migrants trying to reach Italy from the Libyan coast.

According to AMNA information from Ierapetra Port Authority, the C-Star, is currently sailing in international waters 12 miles south of Koufonisi, a small island in the Cyclades.

The group has not yet informed Greek authorities whether they intent to disembark in Crete, but it is believed that Monday’s protests will dissuade them from approaching the port.

Ierapetra mayor Theodosios Kalantzakis said his city is against any form of fascism and doesn’t want to host Defend Europe at the port.

“I do not see any intention by the passengers themselves to come to our region anymore, where we have shown that fascism will not pass, [where] we have shown our solidarity and hospitality to the 700 migrants we helped survive with dignity during the days they were hosted in Ierapetra a while ago,” he said.

“My communication with the authorities and the ministry was immediate and Ierapetra responded with the protests yesterday and also with the message I sent to the particular ship through the authorities,” the mayor told AthensNewsAgency.

The group Defend Europe is sailing in the Mediterranean to protest against the migratory route used by refugees and migrants who seek security in other countries.

Anti C Star protest in Catania, Sicily, last week: Closed Harbor or Racists

Defend Europe says it wants to preserve Europe’s identity and stop boats with refugees from reaching Europe. The C Star crew will conduct surveillance of the Search and Rescue ships chartered by NGOs because they “support human smugglers,” the DE claims.

The ‘mission’ of C Star is scheduled for ten days.

  • The joke of C Star: the vessel is sailing under the flag of …Mongolia, a country that has no access to the sea.

Vessel C STAR (IMO: 7392854, MMSI: 457381000) is a research vessel built in 1975 and currently sailing under the flag of Mongolia. C STAR has 40m length overall and beam of 9m. Her gross tonnage is 422 tons. Below you can find more technical information, photos, AIS data and last 5 port calls of C STAR detected by AIS.

A week ago, the C Star mission did not go to plan after it was swiftly “arrested” in the Suez Canal when its captain failed to produce a satisfactory crew list last week.Later, the crew has resurfaced.

According to cretedoc.gr, the captain and his deputy were also arrested in Famagusta, in occupied Cyprus, on charges they were bringing illegal migrants from Sri Lanka. They were supposed to be the crew.

Several members were arrested for forging documents and engaging in potential human trafficking.

The members were stopped in and deported from a sea port in the self-declared Turkish state of Northern Cyprus Thursday after spending two days in detention for document forgery and potential human trafficking of 20 Sri Lankan nationals who were aboard the C-Star, the campaign’s ship. Turkish Cypriot authorities deported nine crew members, including the ship’s captain and a German “second captain” believed to be neo-Nazi Alexander Schleyer. The authorities also transferred the director of the company that owns the ship, Sven Tomas Egerstrom, to Greek-controlled Cyprus for further questioning.

According to NGO Hope, Egerstrom was convicted to 2 and a half year sentence for fraud.

The director of the company chartering the ship, ‘Suunta’ (now renamed ‘C-Star’) is a convicted fraudster.

Sven Tomas Egerstrom, director of Marine Global Services LTD, which own the C-Star, was convicted of fraud in 2002 and sentenced to prison for two-and-a-half years in jail, Swedish criminal records reveal.

Cretedoc.gr claims that the vessel was chartered by a company providing armed personnel against “Somalian pirates.”

According to international media, the purpose of C Star mission is PR for the anti-Islamist activists.

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13 comments

  1. I hope all the ports in Greece refuse this ship docking. The coastguards should ensure they don’t enter Greek waters.

  2. It would seem that KTG does not know much about UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea).
    “The joke of C Star: the vessel is sailing under the flag of …Mongolia, a country that has no access to the sea.”
    1. The high seas are open to all States, whether coastal or land-locked. Freedom of the high seas is exercised under the conditions laid down by this Convention and by other rules of international law. It comprises, inter alia, both for coastal and land-locked States. UNCLOS Article 86.

    Personally I applaud the actions of Defend Europe in bringing to the public eye the illegal actions of many rescue vessels working for the NGO’s. Entering Libyan territorial waters, after making telephone contact with the people smugglers, and running taxi services from Libya to Italy for illegal migrants should be banned.

    Refugees, as defined by the UN, “Refugees are people fleeing conflict or persecution. They are defined and protected in international law, and must not be expelled or returned to situations where their life and freedom are at risk”, should be admitted only after all migrants have been processed and the legal from the illegal ones sorted.

    Europe is not helping anyone by allowing “carte blanche” to all migrants.

    If you or I want to immigrate to another country there are rules to follow. The same rules should apply to all the illegal migrants and if found to be illegal migrants, and not refugees, should be sent back.

  3. Martin Baldwin-Edwards

    I see that there is a person quoting the Law of the Sea at us. We can only laugh, to be told that the right of a landlocked country to have a fake ship with an illegal crew of undocumented migrants is a major part of the rule of law. In fact, it is far right scum abusing the law in every way they can find.
    ~
    We should also not the requirement of the Law of the Sea (i will not bother quoting chapter and verse) that all ships’ captains go to the aid of any other ship in distress or persons in distress in the water. This is a much more serious requirement, as failure to observe it constutes a criminal offence. You will go to prison for not saving drowning people or aiding vessels in distress.
    ~
    We should also note the 1951 UN convention on refugees which is incorporated directly into Greek law, and also via the EU Treaties — requiring states to accept applications for humanitarian protection, regardless of country of origin and regardless of how the migrants reached the territory of the state. In plain language, there is no such thing as an “illegal migrant” until that person’s status has been determined as such by a court of law.
    ~
    In addition to the UN Convention, there is the European Convention on Human Rights — which is directly incorporated into Greek law and is also accepted as customary international law by the CJEU. This provides additional grounds for protection for migrants and others who may need such protection — to be determined by appropriate tribunals and courts.
    ~
    What you will not find is any legislation permitting fascists to take their boats around the world and attempt to harass human rights NGOs that are carrying out rescue operations in conformity with the Law of the Sea, the 1951 Convention, the ECHR, the EU Treaties and the relevant national laws. Indeed, such harassment is likely to be construed as a criminal offence and land its perpetrators a prison sentence.

  4. If you, Mr. Baldwin-Edwards, are going to quote UNCLOS / SOLAS that the requirement of the master of a vessel is to go to the aid of persons in distress, you should also realise that the Master is not legally obliged to pick up anyone if he considers them to be a threat to the safety of his vessel or crew. I would point you to
    Part VII Article 98 “Duty to render assistance”. If you are going to quote laws then you should know all parts of them and not just “cherry pick” !

    As I said in my original post, “Refugees, as defined by the UN, “Refugees are people fleeing conflict or persecution. They are defined and protected in international law, and must not be expelled or returned to situations where their life and freedom are at risk”, should be admitted only after all migrants have been processed and the legal from the illegal ones sorted”. This covers your comment on the use of the judicial process.

  5. There may be some that do not like the fact that landlocked countries have the legal right to flag merchant or pleasure vessels but this is the law and in this case the vessel certainly cannot be called a “fake ship”.

    If people are going to quote UNCLOS / SOLAS stating that the requirement of the master of a vessel is to go to the aid of persons in distress, they should also realise that the Master is not legally obliged to pick up anyone if he considers them to be a threat to the safety of his vessel, passengers or crew. I would point out
    Part VII Article 98 “Duty to render assistance” Every State shall require the master of a ship flying its flag, in so far as he can do so without serious danger to the ship, the crew or the passengers: . If people are going to quote laws then they should know all parts of them and not just “cherry pick”.

    As I said in my original post, “Refugees, as defined by the UN, “Refugees are people fleeing conflict or persecution. They are defined and protected in international law, and must not be expelled or returned to situations where their life and freedom are at risk”, should be admitted only after all migrants have been processed and the legal from the illegal ones sorted”. This covers the comment on the use of the judicial process.

    Also the 1951 UN convention on refugees has no mention of migrants, the wording is very clear and for this I would recommend that you read the UN document CONVENTION RELATING TO THE STATUS OF REFUGEES / PROTOCOL RELATING TO THE STATUS OF REFUGEES published 2008.

  6. Martin Baldwin-Edwards

    Since there is another silly quasi-legalistic response…

    Indeed, the Master of a vessel is not allowed to put his own vessel or crew in danger when carrying out the legal duty of rescuing persons in distress. As far as I am aware, there has been not one incident in recent years where this has proven relevant in the Mediterranean. There is little point in quoting irrelevant provisions, other than to make some sort of quibbling complaint.
    ~
    As for your comment that the UN convention does not mention migrants, this is merely nomenclature. The convention addresses humanitarian protection for those seeking it: it does not apply within a single territory (to IDPs) and therefore is applicable only to those who have crossed an international boundary. Such people are called migrants in common parlance.
    ~
    And thank you for your kind recommendation to read the 1951 Convention. Actually, I first read it 35 years ago and am very familiar with it – -as well as with all the other legislation I cited. This is what doing research, advising governments, UN agencies, the European Commission and also publishing learned books and articles is about.

  7. “Quasi-legalistic response” ? I beg to differ; it is a direct quote from a legal document therefore not quasi at all.

    As to whether or not this has happened is irrelevant and even more irrelevant as to whether it has happened in the Mediterranean, the fact of the matter is that it is allowed for the Master to refuse to pick up persons if he so decides !

    “The convention addresses humanitarian protection for those seeking it” Agreed, but according to the criteria laid out in the convention. Again you are choosing to use only half of the information in the convention to try to make a convoluted point.

    “Such people are called migrants in common parlance”. Common parlance is not used in legal or UN documents also if this were the case there would be no UN document on the definition of Migrants ! I would suggest that you read it.

    It was not my recommendation for you to read the UN 1951 Convention but rather the UN document “CONVENTION RELATING TO THE STATUS OF REFUGEES / PROTOCOL RELATING TO THE STATUS OF REFUGEES published in 2008” which I seriously doubt that you have read 35 years ago as it was written in 2008 unfortunately I cannot post the link for you.

    I am also very familiar with all the legal documents quoted and cited having also worked with and for NATO on matters of Maritime Security, EU immigration agencies, EU & Non EU governments, Interpol, Euro-pol,
    MARLU and other government agencies world-wide.

    The NGO vessel’s participating in the “rescue” of migrants maybe complicit in a number of different illegalities – contraventions, and the sooner this is properly investigated and stopped the better.

    As for the Mayor of Ierapetra, and any Mayor of any port, with his wish to block the port for the “C-Star” he has no legal right to do so. Only the State has this right and only under certain conditions also laid out in UNCLOS.

  8. Dear KTG,

    are you now censoring bzw, not allowing posts to be replied to ?

  9. Martin Baldwin-Edwards

    Just to correct the dubious quasi-legal statements being posted here. It is not a matter of a vessel’s Master being allowed to decide not to rescue those in need. The law is very clear that he is required to do so, but should not do so if it puts his own vessel at risk or his own crew or passengers. What you posted is incorrect as a matter of law. It is a criminal offence not to rescue ships or persons in distress, in other than exceptional circumstances — which would be subject to investigation by appropriate authorities.
    ~
    If you are so allegedly expert on the Law of the Sea, it is very odd that you failed to mention the SAR Convention of 1979. The duty to render assistance is explicitly required in UNCLOS 1 – as I have told you — and on this basis is elaborated in the 1979 search and rescue convention, as amended. I am sure that readers unfamiliar with international law will understand that the rescue of vessels and persons in distress is a key priority for the UN. When those persons are in need of humanitarian protection, this also concerns the UNHCR.

    As for claiming that NHOs are committing crimes, all decent people realise that they are trying to save lives. Deaths in the Mediterranean have increased massively since the EU activities to stop smugglers, and most rescues are now having to take place just off the coast of Libya, as opposed to the coasts of Italy and Malta a few years ago. Moreover, owing to the disastrous impact of Operation Sophia, most smugglers now use cheap rubber dinghies (which they are not present on) and leave the migrants to struggle and drown. Without the NGOs, there would be massive numbers of deaths in the Mediterranean. NGOs are reacting quickly, and are in fact being used by smugglers. This does not mean that NGOs are breaking the law: it means that the EU governments are stupid.

  10. Dear KTG,
    so obviously even after posting my response multiple times it was not published. Do you have an agenda to promote, as you seem to allow with very little time difference between Martin Baldwin-Edwards comments as opposed to mine ?

  11. keeptalkinggreece

    multiple comments of same content are considered ‘spam’.
    ‘Accusations’ do not work here

  12. When you do not post my comment for over 24 hours that in itself is questionable. As a long time reader and commentator of your blog I consider your censorship a despotic act and certainly not a democratic act.

  13. This will be my last comment on this matter as it would seem that certain parties have their heads up their A** as far as UNCLOS is concerned.

    So the NGO’s are not breaking the law and the EU governments are stupid ? All I can say to this statement is; Thank god that the NGO’s are not running Europe and that thankfully not everyone shares your opinion.

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