The tanker Elhiblu 1 rescued 108 migrants from drowning on the coast of Libya and was in turn hijacked when those who were saved realized they were being returned to their country of origin, the Guardian reported on Wednesday.
Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini called the group "pirates" and vowed "they will only see Italy through a telescope. He then noted on social media that groups like these Libyans present "a case of organized crime."
The Maltese coastguard said it is aware of the situation and that the ship will not be allowed to dock in Malta.
The Elhiblu 1 is registered in the archipelago of Palau in the Western Pacific ocean.
At the time of this report, the captain of the vessel did not answer attempts by the Maltese authorities to communicate and the situation on the ship remains unknown.