Three boats in distress near the Greek islands of Lesvos and Samos

15.09.2015 / 13:01 / Aegean Sea, Greek islands of Lesvos and Samos

Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 14th of September 2015

Case name: 2015_09_14-AEG70
Situation: Three boats in distress near the Greek islands of Lesvos and Samos
Status of WTM Investigation: Concluded
Place of Incident: Aegean Sea

Summary of the Cases:: On Monday the 14th of September 2015, the Alarm Phone was informed about three vessels in distress in the Aegean Sea, close to the Greek islands of Lesvos and Samos.

At 6.30pm the Alarm Phone received an emergency call from Nawal Soufi’s activist collective, which alerted us to a boat in distress with many children on board and provided us with its GPS coordinates. As these showed the travellers close to the shores of the Greek island of Lesvos, our shift team immediately called the Greek coastguard. However, without being able to pass on a phone number of the travellers, the shift team had to repeatedly demand a rescue operation until the Greek coastguard stated that they would send out a rescue vessel after all. At 8:06pm we received an email from Nawal Soufi’s activist collective, stating that the group had now reached land. When trying to obtain also a confirmation from the Greek coastguard, the authorities were once again very uncooperative and unwilling to provide further information. Some time later, our contact person informed us that the travellers had reached Lesvos Island independently.

Beyond that, on the same day the Alarm Phone was alerted to two other boats in the Aegean Sea. Via Facebook we received the position and telephone number of a boat between the Turkish coast and the northern shore of Lesvos. After speaking directly to the travellers we could confirm that they were safe and had presumably already reached Lesvos.

Already in the early morning a contact person had informed us via WhatsApp about a boat in distress north east of the Greek island of Samos. Unfortunately, direct contact to the boat could not be established, thus rescue cannot be confirmed.
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