17/12 Boat with 4 people left from Tangier/Morocco, rescued to Spain

18.12.2017 / 15:08 / Western Mediterranean, Morocco/Spain

Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 17th of December 2017

Case name: 2017_12_17-WM201
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 Sunday the 17th of December 2017, our Alarm Phone shift team was informed at 8.15am by a contact person in Morocco to a boat in distress, carrying four people. It had left at 3am and we were forwarded a phone number. After several attempts we were able to establish contact with the boat at 8.27am. They confirmed that they had left from Tangier Med and were on a rubber dinghy, trying to reach Tarifa. They had an engine but were all very exhausted and in difficult weather conditions. They asked us to inform the Spanish search and rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo (SM) and we requested their exact GPS position which they could at first not forward.

We spoke to SM at 8.34am and they had already learned about this case and were searching for them. At 8.42am, the boat-people stated that they could see two container vessels in the vicinity. We tried to locate these two vessels on online tracking websites to estimate their position. At 9.09am, we learned that the people on the boat were paddling, possibly their engine had broken down. At 9.13am they stated that they could see a helicopter but were not sure whether the helicopter had detected them. We saw that a Spanish search and rescue vessel was approaching their location and we informed the boat-people about these developments, which reassured them. At 9.54am, they were able to pass on their current GPS position via WhatsApp to us, which we passed on to SM. SM confirmed that they were heading into this direction. At 10.41am, the boat people confirmed to us that they had been rescued.
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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