Migrants hijacked a cargo ship in Libyan waters on Wednesday and forced the crew to reroute the vessel north to Europe, according to Italian and Maltese authorities.
The Armed Forces of Malta said military personnel were standing by and the hijacked vessel still was in Libyan territorial waters on Wednesday night.
Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said the merchant ship, El Hiblu 1, rescued migrants in the Mediterranean Sea earlier Wednesday. He says about 120 rescued passengers were on board when the hijacking happened.
Salvini said “it would be the first act of piracy on the high seas with migrants that hijacked” a cargo ship.
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Salvini says weather conditions on the water weren’t good and it’s too early to tell if the ship was being directed toward Malta or Italy’s Lampedusa island.