Italian authorities have prevented a rescue boat with 700 migrants on board from landing on the island of Sicily because there is not enough room for them.
Just seven people who needed urgent medical attention were let off the boat run by medical charity Medecins Sans Frontiers when it docked on Friday.
The charity said that despite negotiations, the authorities turned it away due to a "lack of capacity in the Italian (migrant) reception system", according to the Local Italy.
Italy has struggled to cope with the influx of more than 80,000 migrants have fled to Europe after fleeing war and persecution in the Middle East and Africa.
More than 1,200 people drowned in a single week in April off the Italian coast in one of the worst migrant boat disasters in history.
Italy has called on its EU partners to do more to help it manage the flow of refugees desperately fleeing across the sea. It scrapped its dedicated search and rescue operation, Mare Nostrum, with the EU’s limited Frontex rescue mission to replace it.
In pictures: Migrant boat disaster
In pictures: Migrant boat disaster
1/10 Migrant boat disaster
Rescuers help children to disembark in the Sicilian harbor of Pozzallo, Italy
2/10 Migrant boat disaster
A child is carried by a rescue worker as he arrives with migrants on the boat at the Sicilian harbor of Pozzallo
3/10 Migrant boat disaster
A migrant is helped disembark in the Sicilian harbor of Pozzallo, Italy
4/10 Migrant boat disaster
A boat transporting migrants arrives in the port of Messina after a rescue operation at sea
5/10 Migrant boat disaster
Italian Coast Guard officers disembark the body of a dead migrant off the ship Bruno Gregoretti, in Valletta's Grand Harbour
6/10 Migrant boat disaster
Armed Forces of Malta personnel in protective clothing carry the body of a dead immigrant off Italian coastguard ship Bruno Gregoretti as surviving migrants watch in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand Harbour
7/10 Migrant boat disaster
Rescued migrants talk to a member of the Malta Order after a fishing boat carrying migrants capsized off the Libyan coast, is brought ashore along with 23 others retreived by the Italian Coast Guard vessel Bruno Gregoretti at Boiler Wharf, Senglea in Malta
8/10 Migrant boat disaster
Bodies of dead immigrants lie on the deck of the Italian coastguard ship Bruno Gregoretti in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand Harbour
9/10 Migrant boat disaster
Italian coastguard personnel in protective clothing carry the body of a dead immigrant off their ship Bruno Gregoretti in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand Harbour
10/10 Migrant boat disaster
Italian coastguard personnel in protective clothing stand on the deck of their ship 'Bruno Gregoretti', carrying dead immigrants on board, as it arrives in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand, Harbour
The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said deaths have risen 50 fold since last year.
The president of Medecins Sans Frontiers’ Italian wing, Loris De Filippi said the "lack of preparation in the Italian system has very concrete consequences that we witness first hand".
"The ministry of interior must authorise boats to disembark at the port in Sicily that is closest to them in order to allow them to return to the search-and-rescue zone as soon as possible in order save other boats," he added.
It comes after Sicilian police arrested three Egyptian men on Friday following the death of a 10-year-old diabetic Syrian girl on a boat when smugglers’ allegedly threw her insulin in the sea.
The boat, packed with 335 people, landed in Sicily on Wednesday after setting sail from Alexandria in Egypt more than a week ago.
Additional reporting by APReuse content