"If anyone thinks I won't move a muscle while we have another summer of landings, landings and more landings, well that's not what I'm going to do", Salvini told reporters. Malta refused, and when Italy instructed the ship to stay at sea, Malta accused Italy of violating worldwide norms.
While thanking Spain for their offer of help, the Maltese Prime minister said Italy had broken worldwide rules and that there was a need to sit down with European partners to avoid an incident like this from happening again. "It's primarily saying that Italy can not be left alone in dealing with so many migrants", he said in an interview.
The UNHCR estimates that 784 have died or gone missing, and its data shows that 21.9 percent of total arrivals are Syrian.
The U.S. Navy has confirmed that one of its ships was involved in a rescue operation in the Mediterranean.
On Monday, shortly after Salvini's government denied the Aquarius access to Italian ports, the League party picked up victories in local mayoral elections across the nation.
He tweeted:.Chiudiamoiporti. "We're closing the ports".
The Aquarius rescued the migrants from human traffickers' boats in the Mediterranean Sea on Saturday.
The International Organisation for Migration's director general William Lacy Swing hailed Spain's offer.
However, charities questioned why the coast guard boat was being allowed to dock in Italy, while migrants on the Aquarius, who had been at sea for longer, were not. All passengers were offloaded to the Aquarius to be taken to land.
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), also known as Doctors Without Borders, which is operating the Aquarius alongside SOS Mediterranne, urged a rethink.
The refugees will be taken to Spain's Valencia port with the help of two Italian ships. We will have to sit down and discuss how to prevent this from happening again.
In a statement, the Spanish government said, "It is our duty to help avoid a humanitarian catastrophe and offer "safe harbour" to these people in accordance with global law". "The point is to not politicise this process, but work together to find practical economic solutions", said Bomberger.More news: Liveblog: President Trump Meets North Korean Leader Kim Jong
The government statement said Spain wanted to comply with its global responsibilities on humanitarian crises.
The Italian government is insisting that Malta takes in 629 migrants that were rescued near Libya on Sunday morning, saying that its ports were closed. "They can keep the people here, they have enough water and food for everybody, but this is a very delicate situation".
"All the survivors are exhausted and dehydrated because they spent many hours adrift in these boats", he said. The League campaigned on an anti-migrant platform that proved popular with Italian voters because Italy and Greece had borne the brunt of the refugee and migrant crisis. Merchant vessels have diverted from their commercial voyages to rescue more than 50,000 people in the Mediterranean since 2015.
"People are in distress, are running out of provisions and need help quickly".
No country so far has allowed the humanitarian boat, now circulating between Malta and Italy, to dock.
Sea-Watch said police also questioned some of the rescued migrants who, after being processed by the authorities, are likely to end up in reception centers.
The migrants were rescued in six separate nighttime operations in the central Mediterranean on Saturday.
A child looks on as Nigerian Christians pray aboard rescue ship MV Aquarius, off the coast of Sicily on May 14, 2018.
However, he added that Germany believes "particularly burdened countries, and Italy is of course one of them, must not be left alone" in dealing with Europe's migrant influx.
A rescue ship carrying more than 600 migrants will be allowed to enter the Spanish port of Valencia, after it was turned away from ports in Italy and Malta.
Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said Italy's refusal to allow the Aquarius ship to dock at an Italian port risks "creating a unsafe situation for all those involved".
The ship was heading for the Italian port of Messina Sunday when Italian officials ordered it to stop and remain in place, 27 miles west of Malta and 35 miles south west of mainland Italy.
Italy's new Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said "saving lives is a duty, turning Italy into a huge refugee camp is not".