18/09 Alarm Phone alerted to 29 people in distress in the Western Med, rescued to Spain

19.09.2017 / 13:30 / Western Mediterranean, Morocco

Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 18th of September 2017

Case name: 2017_09_18-WM161
Situation: Alarm Phone alerted to emergency situation in the Western Med
Status of WTM Investigation: Concluded
Place of Incident: Western Mediterranean Sea

Summary of the Case: In the evening of Monday, the 18th of September 2017, our Alarm Phone shift team was informed by a contact person in Morocco about a boat in distress in the Western Mediterranean Sea, carrying about 27 people. The boat had left from Tangier at 4am and we received three different mobile phone numbers. At 9.15pm, we were able to establish direct contact with one of the travellers but it was difficult to communicate. Shortly afterwards, our contact person in Tangier forwarded a GPS position of the boat and stated that the people on the boat had already reached out to the Spanish search and rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo. At 10.06pm, one of the travellers informed us that they could no longer see the helicopter they had seen for a while but they were now able to see a vessel approaching them. Their engine had stopped working. They also told us that several younger people were among the group. After this exchange, we were unable to reconnect with them. At 10.46pm, our contact person in Tangier confirmed that they had been rescued to Spain by Salvamento Maritimo. At 11.13pm, Salvamento Maritimo in Tarifa confirmed the rescue of 29 people. We could establish that this was the group in question. They would be disembarked in Tarifa/Spain.
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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