Baby born on migrant rescue ship in the Mediterranean

STORY: The growing number of migrants stranded at sea risks leading to a new confrontation with Italy's right-wing government, in a replay of last month's drama also involving France.

The baby, named Ali, was delivered on Wednesday (December 7) and airlifted overnight to the Italian island along with the mother and three siblings, the Doctors without Borders (MSF) group said.

NGO vessels patrol the waters off Libya and Tunisia, and normally ask Italy or Malta to take in the migrants they rescue, including many reeling from abuse and hardship in Libyan camps.

Malta refuses almost all requests on the grounds that it is too small to handle them, while Italy complains that it cannot be left shouldering the burden alone.