Advertisement

Rescued migrants hijack cargo ship in Mediterranean Sea: Italian minister

In this Jan. 8, 2018 file photo, the Sea-Watch rescue ship waits off the coast of Malta.
In this Jan. 8, 2018 file photo, the Sea-Watch rescue ship waits off the coast of Malta. AP Photo/Rene Rossignaud, File

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.

READ MORE: Over 100 migrants were on boat that capsized in Mediterranean Sea, survivors say

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.

WATCH: 90 feared dead after migrant boat capsizes off Libya

90 feared dead after migrant boat capsizes off Libya
90 feared dead after migrant boat capsizes off Libya

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.

Story continues below advertisement