Vessel with 40 people in distress in the Aegean Sea, rescued by Turkey

17.06.2015 / 19:52 / Aegean Sea

Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigation – 16th of June 2015

Case name: 2015_06_16-AEG15
Situation: Vessel in distress carrying approximately 40 people rescued in the Aegean Sea by Turkish coastguard
Status of WTM Investigation: Concluded (update received on the 23rd of June)
Place of Incident: Aegean Sea, Greece

Summary of the Case: In the night to Tuesday the 16th of June 2015, the Alarm Phone shift team received a call from someone in distress in the Aegean Sea. Due to an unstable phone line, communication was difficult and it could only be understood that there was a group of approximately 40 people in the Aegean Sea who had left from Ayvalik, Turkey and were in urgent need of rescue. After the initial emergency call, contact to the passengers could not be re-established.

The shift team informed the Greek coastguards in Piraeus who said that without further details and a position, they could not do much in this situation. At 2am, the Greek coastguards confirmed that they were searching for the vessel and had also alerted the Turkish coastguards. At 4am, the Greek coastguards confirmed the rescue of the vessel in question without, however, providing any further details. We were suspicious of this confirmation, also due to the fact that there were several vessels in distress in the region so that another vessel could have easily been mistakenly identified as the vessel in question. We sought to verify the rescue operation with one of the passengers. However, his phone could not be reached for several days.

On 23rd of June we were able to establish contact to the person who had contacted us from the vessel. He explained that their engine had broken down “because of water leaking inside the ship and because of the mixing of water and gasoline” as he stated. After that “the fuel leak damaged the ship and cause me burns”. He passed on a GPS position indicating the location in the Aegean Sea where they got stuck. They were still in the Turkish SAR zone and eventually the Turkish coastguard rescued them (see source 1).
Last update: 00:35 Jun 26, 2015
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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