2 Vessels in distress in the Western Med, rescued/intercepted by Morocco

16.08.2015 / 15:12 / Western Mediterranean Sea, Morocco

Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations 15th of August 2015
Case name: 2015_08_15-WM42
Situation: 2 vessels rescued/intercepted by the Moroccan Navy
Status of WTM Investigations: Concluded
Place of Incidents: Western Mediterranean Sea, Morocco

Summary of the Cases: On Saturday the 15th of August 2015, the Alarm Phone was contacted at approximately 7am by someone who, clearly in panic, reported that they were a group of 10 people on their way to Spain. Following his account, they were already close to Tarifa/Spain but some people had fallen into the water. We immediately called the Spanish search and rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo in Tarifa who already knew about the emergency situation and said that they launched a rescue operation, including a helicopter. As it was still dark, they could not estimate how long the search might take. We then reached out to the travellers and, despite very difficult communications, they understood that a rescue operation had been launched. At approximately 8:14am, we received a message from Salvamento Maritimo, informing us that the group had been rescued/intercepted by the Moroccan Navy. Later on, the authorities in Rabat/Morocco also confirmed the rescue of the group in distress.

A few hours later we received a distress call from a vessel carrying 5 people who had left several hours earlier from Tangier/Morocco. Due to an impeded phone connection it was difficult to receive further details. We then informed Salvamento Maritimo about the case. Afterwards, the group could not be reached for some time until, about an hour later, they confirmed that they had been intercepted by the Moroccan Navy.
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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