Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigation – 28th of February 2015Case name
: Vessel in distress off the coast of Lesvos/Greece Status of WTM Investigation
: Concluded Time and Place of Incident
: 28th of February, off the coast of Lesvos/Greece Summary of the Case
:The shift team of the Watch The Med Alarm Phone received a distress call around 13:00h from passengers on a vessel near the Greek island of Mytilene. They informed the shift team that 35 people were in distress and stuck in the same position at sea for nearly two hours. The contact person appeared scared and in panic, stating repeatedly that they had little time left and urgently needed help. They were unable, however, to pass on their exact position.
The shift team reached out to the Greek coastguard and passed on the received information. Shortly after, the boat-people called again with more information, stating that 10 babies, 10 women and 15 men were on board and that they were about 5 kilometers off the island of Mytilene, able to see a mountain and approximately 300-400 buildings. The shift team enquired whether they should also alert the Turkish coastguard and the contact person responded that we should inform whoever would be able to come to their rescue. We sent an email to both the Greek and Turkish coastguards to document the details we had gathered and also reached out to the Hellenic Rescue Team and the Turkish coastguard also via phone.
In a phone call, the rescue centre in Mytilene stated that they had sent out vessels but were unable to find the vessel. We provided the rescue centre with further information and they asked us to call them back an hour later. We then received a call from the Greek Coast Guards who told us that they had localised and rescued all the people in distress. They said that there were 34 people and many children who were brought to the port of Mythimna. Shortly after that the Hellenic Rescue Team also called and confirmed that the vessel in distress was being pulled to the port. The Greek Coast Guards later announced the rescue online (see source 1).