Given that Italy's decision to close their ports was the first strong-man move from anti-immigration Home Affairs Minister and Leader of the League (LEGA), one of the two parties of the ruling coalition, and the murky waters surrounding global obligations, it would appear that the stalemate may continue.
Salvini, in a joint statement with Italian coastguard minister Danilo Toninelli, insisted that Malta "cannot continue to look the other way when it comes to respecting precise worldwide conventions on the protection of human life".
The migrants were rescued by SOS Mediterranee's vessel Aquarius in six separate night-time operations in the central Mediterranean on Saturday.
The move by Italy's new Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, who is also head of the far-right League, represents an opening gambit to make good on his electoral promises to halt the flow of asylum seekers into the country.
Malta's prime minister Joseph Muscat said: "The Italian government is breaching worldwide rules and, with its attitude, is risking to create a situation that would be unsafe to everyone".More news: Fans wonder whether LeBron's injured hand cost the Cavs a championship
He said Malta would be sending fresh supplies to the vessel.
Malta is in full conformity with worldwide obligations and will not take the vessel in its ports.
The standoff marked the first display of Italy's get-tough immigration policy under the right-wing, xenophobic League.
Salvini pointed to Malta's unwillingness in accusing Europe as a whole of leaving Italy on its own to deal with the refugee crisis.
European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said Monday that "the priority of both the Italian and Maltese authorities should be ensuring these people receive the care they need". "The people we saved were in a hard condition, at least 50 were at risk of drowning", he added.
The rescuers say those on board Acquarius include 123 unaccompanied minors, 11 children, and 7 pregnant women.More news: Woman caught caging kids in pet kennels
More than 600,000 migrants have reached Italy by boat from Africa in the past five years.
Naples is "ready, without funds, to save human lives", the mayor of Naples tweeted, calling Salvini a "heartless minister".
Under the worldwide law, people rescued in the sea should be brought to the closest and safest port for assistance.
They explained that Valletta had no responsibility over the people aboard of Aquarius as they had been saved by Italian Navy in Libyan waters.
We have always welcomed rescue boats and vessels who saved lives at sea.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday called for an EU-wide border protection force, as well as joint asylum authority and collective standards for granting or refusing applications for protection.More news: 'The Band's Visit' and 'Harry Potter' win big at Tonys
One said: "Rome is seeking a diplomatic incident".