Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigation – 2nd of June 2015Case name
: Vessel in distress in Libyan waters, approximately 110 people rescued Status of WTM Investigation
: ConcludedPlace of Incident
: Central Mediterranean SeaSummary of the Case
: In the afternoon of Tuesday the 2nd of June 2015, our shift team of the Alarm Phone was alerted by Father Mussie Zerai to a vessel in distress in the Central Mediterranean Sea and obtained the satellite phone number of the passengers. The shift team contacted the passengers directly at around 3pm and learned that there were approximately 110 people on the vessel that had left Tripoli/Libya the day before. They stated that their engine had broken down and that they were very tired. The shift team was able to receive the GPS coordinates of the vessel and then contacted the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Rome. In a cooperative way, MRCC Rome confirmed that they would reach out to the vessel in distress.
In further phone conversations with the people in distress, the shift team sought to obtain more information but communication was difficult. We then informed the MRCC Rome, the UNHCR, MOAS and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) about the situation and passed on the information received through the passengers. At around 4.30pm the passengers contacted our shift team once again, passing on updated coordinates and stating that they could see two large vessels in vicinity. Again these information were forwarded to MRCC Rome and in the meantime we were able to charge the satellite phone of the passengers with credit so that they could continue making distress calls if in need. After 5.30pm, contact to the vessel broke down and could not be re-established.
Our shift team contacted MSF who confirmed that they presumably have had contact to the vessel in the morning and had alerted MRCC Rome to the case. After we had notified them in the afternoon they contacted the passengers again and found out that no rescue had occurred. They contacted MRCC Rome again and then stated that they could observe a vessel directing itself to the vessel in question, presumably to conduct a rescue operation.
At around 7pm, MRCC Rome confirmed that the passengers had been rescued by a patrol vessel of the Italian coastguard and that they would be brought to Italy. The shift team then informed MSF, the UNHCR and MOAS about the successful rescue operation.