22/09 Alarm Phone alerted to 12 people in distress, returned to Morocco

23.09.2017 / 13:32 / Western Mediterranean, Morocco

Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 22nd of September 2017

Case name: 2017_09_22-WM162
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: On Friday the 22nd of September 2017, our Alarm Phone shift team was contacted around 7pm by a person in Morocco, who informed us that a boat carrying 12 people had left at 11am. The point of departure in Morocco was unclear. An Alarm Phone member in Morocco reached the boat at 7.41pm and found out that they had left near Cap Spartel and were on a rubber dinghy. They could see a red and white ferry to their right. While water had started to enter the dinghy, they were not yet in acute distress. At 7.55pm, the Spanish search and rescue Organisation Salvamento Maritimo informed us that they had been informed about the boat and were searching for it. At 8.13pm, we informed the travellers that Salvamento Maritimo was searching for them. At 8.51pm they stated that they could see a search and rescue helicopter. A few minutes later, Salvamento Maritimo stated that they had localised the boat and had informed the Moroccan Navy as it was still in Moroccan waters. At 9.05pm, we asked Salvamento Maritimo to do the rescue instead of the Moroccan Navy, but they declined. At 9.10pm, we talked to the passengers who said that they could see the Moroccan Navy. They were calm but sad that they would be returned to Morocco, the place they had sought to escape. Our member in Morocco talked to the group and could confirm that they were fine after having been returned by the Moroccan Navy.
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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