The European Union is urging Malta to grant entry to a ship carrying more than 100 African migrants, including four pregnant women and another woman needing medical care.
The tanker was anchored off the coast of the Mediterranean island Tuesday, after the ship's captain ignored an order from Maltese and Italian authorities on Monday to return to Libya.
The EU commission said Tuesday that officials on the Mediterranean island have a "humanitarian duty" to allow the tanker to land and its passengers to disembark.
It also said sending the ship back to Libya would be contrary to international law.
Malta has been facing a record influx of migrants, mainly from Africa, including nearly 900 in July. Many of the migrants enter Malta with a goal of going on to Europe.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.