Attack on refugee vessel, 45 travellers rescued by Turkey

12.08.2015 / 17:29 / Aegean Sea

Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations - 11th of August 2015

Case name: 2015_08_11-AEG37
Situation: Vessel in distress after a yet unidentified group took away petrol and engine, rescued by Turkey
Status of WTM Investigations: Ongoing
Place of Incidents: Aegean Sea

Summary of the case: On Tuesday the 11th of August, at about 7am, the Alarm Phone received a call from a person located in Sweden who informed our shift team about a vessel in distress in the Aegean Sea. She forwarded a number of one of the travellers and said that authorities had approached the vessel and taken away their engine. We immediately turned to the travellers with whom, at first, it was difficult to establish clear communications. At about 8am, an Arabic speaking member of the Alarm Phone spoke to the group at sea and was informed that there were 45 people on board, one of which was sick and required medical attention. They said that they were already close to Greece but reported that their engine and petrol had been taken away.

Shortly afterwards they said that a vessel was approaching them, presumably to rescue them. Afterwards, the connection could not be re-established. In the early evening, we were able to speak to our initial contact person in Sweden. She said that they had been rescued by Turkish authorities and were in a detention centre in Izmir. We were then able to communicate with the travellers who asked for support as they feared to be deported from Turkey. We told them that we would reach out to local human rights groups and ask for their assistance. We found out later on about the group’s release. Some stated that their money had been taken away from them, leaving them in a precarious situation.
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