“We will continue, where possible, carrying out individual & humanitarian emergency medical evacuations,” Muscat wrote on Twitter.
The Maltese prime minister also expressed concern over the Italian authorities’ directions given to the Aquarius vessel, adding that such policies contradicted international norms, and might lead to dangerous developments.
The rescuers say those on board Acquarius include 123 unaccompanied minors, 11 children, and 7 pregnant women.
Under the international law, people rescued in the sea should be brought to the closest and safest port for assistance.
The Maltese authorities have been insisting that since the rescue happened in the Libyan search and rescue area and was coordinated from Rome, Malta is neither the coordinating authority, nor has the competence to settle this issue, thus it would not take in the migrants and asylum seekers.
Local media have been suggesting that by instructing Acquarius to stand by its current position in deep waters, new Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who had been criticizing NGOs for carrying out the role of taxis for migrants, has started implementing anti-migrant policies.