Populist Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini has sent two patrol vessels to stop a pair of ships with migrants on board from entering Italian national waters.
Salvini ordered the two vessels to block the migrant ships, which were recently sighted near the coast of Malta, saying that he did not think the Maltese government would act to stop them, Italian newspaper Il Giornale reports.
“It is a matter of principle,” Salvini told television programme Porta a Porta. “Malta, as usual, will certainly not stop them and will let them pass in the direction of Italy. But this time I have arranged means to stop them,” he added.
It is likely the two migrant ships will make their way towards the island of Lampedusa where the NGO vessel Sea Watch-3 had been refused access for around 2 weeks before the captain of the ship, German national Carola Rackete, stormed the blockade on Wednesday.