Some 66 migrants rescued in the past 24 hours by a charity vessel and by an Italian Navy ship were due on Friday to be disembarked in two separate Italian ports.
Disembarkation procedures were going ahead in spite of initial threats by hardline Interior Minister Matteo Salvini to deny landing rights for the migrants.
The Italian Navy was expected to take 36 people intercepted 75 kilometres from the Libyan coast to the port of Augusta, in Eastern Sicily.
Meanwhile, the Mare Jonio, run by Italian non-governmental organisation (NGO) Mediterranea, was approaching the island of Lampedusa with 30 people, also rescued 75 kilometres off Libya.
However, Interior Ministry sources said the Mare Jonio was going to be impounded on charges of abetting illegal immigration.
“The impounding is an attempt to stop us,’’ Mediterranea reacted in a tweet, protesting that the measure was announced to the press and not to them.
“But what’s important for us is that the people are safe. The only crime is to let people die at sea or in Libya,’’ it added.
In the past, Italy’s government has allowed migrant rescue boats into national ports only after other European Union countries agreed to take in some of the incoming migrants.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Thursday that he had secured burden-sharing offers from several countries while taking part in an EU summit in Sibiu, Romania.
Malta, France and Luxembourg agreed to take in some migrants, and there may also be positive answers from Germany, Spain and Portugal, Conte said.