2 groups disoriented and in distress on Symi and Lesvos Islands, Greece, rescued

31.07.2015 / 17:33 / Aegean Sea, Symi and Lesvos Island, Greece

Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations - 30th of July 2015

Case name: 2015_07_30-AEG28
Situation: Groups in distress on Symi and Lesvos Island, found and rescued
Status of WTM Investigations: Concluded
Place of Incidents: Aegean Sea, Greece

Summary of the Cases: On Thursday the 30th of July 2015, at about 2pm, Nawal Soufi’s activist collective informed the Alarm Phone about a group of about 50 people, including many children, lost on Symi Island/Greece and in need of support and rescue. They passed on GPS coordinates and a phone number of the travellers who, however, could not be reached. Our shift team then informed both the Port Authority on Symi as well as the UNHCR in Greece. The Port Authority confirmed that there was a vessel already searching for the group on land. At about 4.30pm, they confirmed that they had just brought 30 people of the group to the Symi Port Police Station and they would go again to transfer the remaining 32 to the station as well. They stated that the group, totalling 62 and not 50 people, would stay at the station until the day after.

In the afternoon, at approximately 5.30pm, our shift team was contacted by someone in Sweden who informed the shift team that a vessel carrying families with children had arrived somewhere in the south of Lesvos Island. They were disoriented and without food and water. Following his account, the travellers had seen vessels that appeared like police or military assets which, however, had not come to their aid. Hours later the contact person informed us that the group had been found and rescued.
Last update: 09:48 Aug 04, 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