One of the stranded migrants, 16-year-old Yaakouba Barry, said he was jailed for 14 months in an unofficial prison in the Libyan city of Bani Walid, where he was tortured in an attempt to extort a ransom from his family.
"My father is dead and my mother is an old woman who owns nothing. I thought they would kill me because I couldn't pay", Barry told Al Jazeera.
He said he was eventually released without paying a ransom, transported to the coast inside a freezer truck, and put on a dinghy that left Libya on Wednesday night.
Early on Friday, the engine stopped working and the boat started to sink.
A plane operated by the German humanitarian NGO Sea Watch spotted it hours later, 30 nautical miles (55km) off the Italian island of Lampedusa, and sent out an SOS signal to ships in the area, as well as informing state authorities.
The Talia, headed towards Spain after delivering livestock in Libya, changed its course and proceeded to the rescue in coordination with Malta.
The engine of the dinghy stopped working on Friday and the boat started to sink [Courtesy of Sea Watch]
Shaaban said Malta then directed it towards Lampedusa, the closest safe port, but Italy refused to let it enter its waters, claiming it should instead go to Malta, 90 nautical miles (166km) away.
Source: Aljazeera (Click for further of the article)