Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations - 24th, 25th and 26th of June 2015Case name
: 2015_06_24-WM25, 2015_06_25-WM26, 2015_06_26-WM27Situation
: Vessels in distress in the Western Mediterranean Sea, intercepted and rescued by the Moroccan Navy Status of WTM Investigations
: Concluded/OngoingPlace of Incidents
: Western Mediterranean Sea, near Morocco Summary of the Cases
: On the 24th, 25th and 26th of June, the Alarm Phone was alerted to four vessels in distress in the Western Mediterranean Sea. The fate of one vessel remains unknown while two vessels were intercepted by the Moroccan Navy. The fourth vessel had capsized during the journey and, following the information obtained so far, its 20 passengers were rescued by the Moroccan Navy and brought back to Morocco.
In the afternoon of Wednesday the 24th of June 2015, the Alarm Phone shift team learned about a group of people seeking to cross the Western Mediterranean Sea between Morocco and Spain on a small rubber vessel. Direct contact to the passengers could not be established but through a contact person in Morocco our shift team found out that the vessel was in distress. We then alerted the Spanish rescue agency Salvamento Maritimo to the case. They stated that the vessel was presumably too close to the Moroccan coast for them to intervene and rescue. Despite several conversations with our contact person in Morocco, it remains unclear what occurred to the passengers.
On Thursday the 25th of June, our shift team was contacted by someone on mainland Morocco who informed us that a vessel had left the Moroccan coast at 3am, carrying 10 people. We immediately informed the rescue agency Salvamento Maritimo who, however, stated that the information provided were not sufficient to launch a search and rescue operation. In the following hours, we had several phone conversations with our contact person in Morocco who, however, was also not able to obtain direct information from the passengers. In another conversation with Salvamento Maritimo, they informed us that they had been in direct contact with people on a vessel and it seemed likely to be the vessel in question. Following Salvamento Maritimo, they had been intercepted by the Moroccan Navy which was, shortly afterwards, also confirmed by our contact person in Morocco. A few hours later, the Alarm Phone was alerted to another distress case in the Western Med, again from someone on mainland Morocco. He informed us that a vessel had left in the night from Morocco, with 11 people on board. We knew through the collective Caminando Fronteras that a vessel carrying 11 persons had also been intercepted by Marine Royale and it seemed to be the vessel in question.
On Friday the 26th of June, in the afternoon at about 5pm, the Alarm Phone was alerted to an emergency situation in the Western Mediterranean Sea where, according to our caller, a vessel had capsized with some people being rescued while others were still in the water. We immediately turned to Salvamento Maritimo who had also been alerted to the case by our contact person. They informed us that the people would be rescued by the Moroccan coastguards and that they would follow up to receive a confirmation by the Moroccan authorities. Later on, at about 7pm, Salvamento Maritimo informed us that the Moroccan coastguards had rescued 7 people with the rescue operation still going on. In the meantime, the Moroccan coastguards could not be reached. A friend of the Alarm Phone agreed to visit the police station in Tangier where many of the intercepted people were brought. Around midnight, our friend informed us that, according to the police, 20 people were rescued in the sea, at around 5pm. They said that nobody from that vessel had died and the rescued were briefly arrested at the local police station. It later emerged in the news that two Senegalese had drowned on the same day when their small rubber vessel capsized (see source 1). It is very likely that this was another vessel that had also sought to cross the Western Mediterranean Sea on the day. Our friend in Morocco is currently trying to find out more about the identity of the deceased Senegalese.
Last update: 12:03 Jun 29, 2015