YLE: Ex-Finnish vessel used by far-right activists to stop migrant boats in Mediterranean

A Libyan coast guardsman stands on a boat during the rescue of 147 illegal immigrants attempting to reach Europe off the coastal town of Zawiyah, 45 kilometres west of Tripoli, on 27 June, 2017.

Génération Identitaire (GI), a far-right movement with active chapters across Europe, has leased a vessel to intercept migrant boats crossing the Mediterranean before their arrival in Europe.

YLE reports that the vessel used in the operation was previously used for research purposes by the Finnish Maritime Administration, a now defunct government agency that was responsible for overseeing maritime safety in Finland.

The vessel was sold abroad some four years ago following the incorporation of the maritime safety agency. It was subsequently re-named from Suunta to C Star and is currently sailing under the flag of Mongolia.

Lorenzo Fiato, the head of GI-Italy, revealed to the public broadcasting company that roughly a dozen far-right activists and a professional crew will board the vessel in Sicily, Italy, in order to begin patrolling along the coast of Libya. The activists will provide first aid to any stranded migrants they encounter before asking the coast guard to escort the migrants back to Africa.

The activists will also keep an eye on the humanitarian organisations that are rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean Sea, according to Fiato.

Such organisations, he added, are co-operating indirectly with human smugglers by allowing the smugglers to use rickety boats to make the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea. “They aren’t saving lives but rather providing a taxi service to Europe,” he said to YLE.

The objective of the activistsis to prevent the spreading of hatred and disorder in Europe, added Fiato.

Fiato was reluctant to disclose the current owner of the former research vessel, revealing only that the owner is a European citizen – but not a Finn – who is supportive of the cause of the far-right movement.

GI was founded as the youth wing of Bloc Identitaire in France in 2002. It opposes immigration, multiculturalism and Islam and presently has a total of a few thousand active members in Austria, Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Slovenia and Czech Republic and the Netherlands, writes YLE.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

Photo: Taha Jawashi – AFP/Lehtikuva

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