Nearly one hundred people who had been stranded on the Open Arms charity ship off the coast of Lampedusa have started coming off the boat and onto the Italian island.

The migrants, mainly from Africa, were removed from the boat after an Italian prosecutor ordered the seizure of the ship and the evacuation of the people.

Some of the migrants had been on board for nearly three weeks since being rescued in the Mediterranean.

The ship docked in Lampedusa after 11.30pm (10.30pm Irish time), ending a prolonged stand-off between the Spanish charity and the government in Rome.

Earlier today Spain deployed a naval patrol boat to pick up the migrants on the charity rescue boat after numerous people jumped overboard in a desperate bid to swim ashore.

However no sooner had the Audaz, with a crew of 62, departed Rota in southwestern Spain during the early evening than an Italian prosecutor ordered the migrants be disembarked in Sicily.

Prosecutor Luigi Patronaggio also ordered the Open Arms charity vessel preventatively seized after inspecting the Spanish boat on which migrants have spent 19 days and "given the difficult situation on board", a judicial source said.

Against the backdrop of a major political crisis in Italy, Mr Patronaggio intervened as part of his probe into alleged kidnapping and refusing to obey orders targeting far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.

But Mr Salvini hit back on Facebook, saying: "If anybody thinks they can scare me with the umpteenth complaint and wants a trial, they're mistaken."

Spain announced it was dispatching the patrol boat shortly after 15 migrants jumped into the water - some without life jackets - after days on board within swimming distance of Lampedusa, which Mr Salvini has closed to migrant rescue ships.

They were "rescued and evacuated to Lampedusa," said a spokeswoman for the NGO Proactiva Open Arms that owns the ship, on which the long wait has led to fights and suicide threats as tempers fray.

The charity warned the situation was "out of control," with some of the migrants stuck for 19 days after being rescued at sea off the coast of Libya, many suffering post-traumatic stress.

The Audaz was expected to take three days to reach Lampedusa. It would then escort the Open Arms vessel to Palma de Mallorca in Spain's Balearic Islands, the government said in a statement.

The navy would look after the migrants from the Open Arms vessel, which has been anchored since last Thursday off Lampedusa, seeking permission to dock.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez tweeted: "With this measure Spain will this week solve the humanitarian emergency."

There were initially 147 mainly African migrants on the ship but as the days passed, some were evacuated for medical care and all minors were allowed to disembark.

Over 80 are left on board.

Six European Union countries - France, Germany, Romania, Portugal, Spain and Luxembourg - have offered to take them all in.

But Mr Salvini still refused to allow migrant rescue vessels to dock as part of his hardline policies.

"Being firm is the only way to stop Italy from becoming Europe's refugee camp again," he tweeted.

Compounding his refusal has been the political crisis in Rome.

Mr Salvini has pulled his party out of Italy's ruling coalition, hoping to topple the 14-month-old government and trigger early elections, which polls suggest his anti-immigrant League party and its right-wing allies could win.

Earlier today Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced he would resign and his resignation was accepted this evening.