Rome reportedly asks Malta to take over 600 refugees onboard humanitarian vessel.
Euronews' Anelise Borges is currently aboard "Aquarius", the search and rescue vessel operated by Doctors without Borders and SOS Mediterranee.
"Over the past 20 hours or so more than 600 people have come onboard. These have all been rescued over the past 30 hours or so in the Mediterranean Sea.
They include men, women and children, and in the early hours of Sunday, when the teams onboard contacted the Italian authorities to determine which one of their ports would be chosen to drop off these people, they were told to hold off.
They have since learned that the Italian authorities contacted the Maltese authorities to determine whether or not Malta can take these people. So this has become a high level political negotiation.
The teams here tell us that for now the situation onboard is under control, they can keep the people here and they have enough water and food for everybody, but of course this is a very delicate situation.
We have yet to learn which one of one of the ports will be chosen for this drop-off. The people are tired, they want to get to safety and of course there is a lot tension among them because they are not sure what is going to happen to them.
The teams here however are very calm. They say the situation here is under control and we continue heading north towards the east coast of Malta and towards Italy."