Rome (CNN)A search-and-rescue ship stranded in the Mediterranean since Friday with 233 migrants on board will finally dock in Malta, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said.
Migrant rescue ship Lifeline to dock in Malta after being stranded for five days in the Mediterranean
Conte said he had reached an agreement to allow the Lifeline to dock after speaking on the phone with Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat. Malta is a small island nation south of Sicily.
In a statement, Conte said that Italy would host some of the migrants and called on other countries to "do the same."
Italy, Malta, France and Portugal have already confirmed their participation, according to a spokesman for the Maltese government. The spokesman added that Spain and the Netherlands were evaluating the situation and that Germany could yet participate.
French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed France would take in "tens" of migrants.
"These are extremely limited quantities, but that is how it will function, this European solidarity," he said.
Speaking at a news conference at the Vatican's French embassy, Macron added, "We are facing a migration situation that no one can fix alone. If we look at the reality of things, we cannot just speak of a 'migration crisis.' It is a European political crisis."
European governments have wrangled for days over who has responsibility for migrants arriving on the continent's southern shores, as conditions on board the ship began to deteriorate.
The issue is particularly sensitive in Germany where Chancellor Angela Merkel is facing a rebellion over her welcoming immigration policies, which is threatening to bring her 13-year rule to an end.
German Green party politician Manuel Sarrazin, who spent time on the Lifeline boat on Sunday, tweeted the deal with Malta is dependent on Germany saying yes to taking some of the migrants.
One asylum seeker was evacuated from the Lifeline overnight with a hernia, according Sea Watch, another German NGO that operates in the Mediterranean.
A number of others have medical conditions, Sea Watch said, including an asylum seeker with a lung injury sustained in Libya.
The Lifeline, operated by German NGO Mission Lifeline, has faced repeated accusations from the anti-immigrant Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini -- and lately also from the Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi di Maio -- that it is sailing under a "fake flag."
According to the International Maritime Organization, the Lifeline sails under a Dutch flag, supporting Lifeline's claim that the ship is correctly registered in the Netherlands.
The Maltese prime minister has blamed the deadlock on the ship's captain, who allegedly ignored instructions from the Italian authorities. The Maltese government repeated that accusation in the statement published Tuesday, which promised "investigations and possible action taken in regards to the MV Lifeline."
Ruben Neugebauer, spokesman for Sea Watch, which is helping to coordinate Mission Lifeline, rejected that claim Tuesday. "We insist, the Lifeline captain has followed the rules.," he said. "The only ones to be investigated are the European governments."