Italy’s new interior minister has refused permission for a rescue vessel to drop off 629 migrants picked up off Libya’s coast.
Matteo Salvini, leader of the far-right League, said Malta should let the Aquarius dock but he was rejected.
Malta said the German charity SOS Méditerranée had picked up the migrants in Libyan waters, which meant they fell under Italy’s jurisdiction
Italy is the main entry for migrants crossing from North Africa to Europe.
The League promised voters during Italy’s recent general election that it would take a tough stance on immigration.