08/07: Alarm Phone alerted to 11 people in distress in Western Med; intercepted by Moroccan Marine Royal

09.07.2017 / 11:38 / Western Mediterranean Sea

Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 8th of July 2017

Case name: 2017_07_08-WM145
Situation: 08/07: Alarm Phone alerted to 11 people in distress in Western Med; intercepted by Moroccan Marine Royal
Status of WTM Investigation: Concluded
Place of Incident: Western Mediterranean Sea

Summary of the Case: On Saturday the 8th of July 2017 at 9.50am, a contact person informed the Alarm Phone about a rubber boat in distress with 11 travellers on board, who had left from Cap Spartel/Morocco at 4am. He added that the travellers saw a cargo vessel in close vicinity and also forwarded their phone number to us. We immediately tried to call them, but without success. At 9.53am, we called the Spanish rescue organization Salvamento Maritimo (S.M.) in Tarifa and forwarded all the information we had received from the contact person. They were already aware of the boat in distress and told us that they were working on the case. We informed the contact person accordingly. At 10.40, we also provided S.M., the UNHCR and the CEAR with our information via email. At 10.45am, we called S.M. in Tarifa again and learned that the rescue organization was in direct contact both with the travellers on the boat in distress and with the cargo vessel nearby. They were taking care of the rescue operation. At 10.55am, S.M. Madrid also confirmed to us via email, that S.M. Tarifa was conducting a rescue operation. Afterwards, we tried to get in contact with the travellers again, but without success. We updated the contact person and agreed that we would talk again if he or we would receive new information. At 12.50am, we saw a tweet of Salvamento Maritimo on Twitter, announcing that one of its vessels had found and transferred a body from a capsized boat near Tarragona/Spain. At 1pm, we called S.M. Tarifa again and asked if this was related to our boat. The answer was no, but we were told that the Moroccan Marine Royale had intercepted the boat in question about one hour earlier. All travellers have been saved, but brought back to Morocco. We called our contact person and forwarded this information to him. At the next day, the contact person wrote to us that he had visited the intercepted travellers. They were doing well, albeit two of them had been so exhausted that they had to be treated in a hospital. He told us that they were about to leave the hospital the day afterwards.
Last update: 10:35 Jul 12, 2017
Credibility: UP DOWN 0
Layers »
  • Border police patrols
    While the exact location of patrols is of course constantly changing, this line indicates the approximate boundary routinely patrolled by border guards’ naval assets. In the open sea, it usually correspond to the outer extent of the contiguous zone, the area in which “State may exercise the control necessary to prevent infringement of its customs, fiscal, immigration or sanitary laws” (UNCLOS, art. 33). Data source: interviews with border police officials.
  • Coastal radars
    Approximate radar beam range covered by coastal radars operating in the frame of national marine traffic monitoring systems. The actual beam depends from several different parameters (including the type of object to be detected). Data source: Finmeccanica.
  • Exclusive Economic Zone
    Maritime area beyond and adjacent to the territorial sea in which the coastal state exercises sovereign rights for the purposes of exploring and exploiting, conserving and managing the natural resources, whether living or non-living, the seabed and its subsoil and the superjacent waters. Its breadth is 200 nautical miles from the straight baselines from which the territorial sea is measured (UNCLOS, Arts. 55, 56 and 57). Data source: Juan Luis Suárez de Vivero, Atlas of the European Seas and Oceans
  • Frontex operations
    Frontex has, in the past few years, carried out several sea operations at the maritime borders of the EU. The blue shapes indicate the approximate extend of these operations. Data source: Migreurop Altas.
  • Mobile phone coverage
    Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) network coverage. Data source: Collins Mobile Coverage.
  • Oil and gas platforms
    Oil and gas platforms in the Mediterranean. Data source:
  • Search and Rescue Zone
    An area of defined dimensions within which a given state is has the responsibility to co-ordinate Search and Rescue operations, i.e. the search for, and provision of aid to, persons, ships or other craft which are, or are feared to be, in distress or imminent danger. Data source: IMO availability of search and rescue (SAR) services - SAR.8/Circ.3, 17 June 2011.
  • Territorial Waters
    A belt of sea (usually extending up to 12 nautical miles) upon which the sovereignty of a coastal State extends (UNCLOS, Art. 2). Data source: Juan Luis Suárez de Vivero, Atlas of the European Seas and Oceans

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