4 distress calls in the Aegean Sea, near the Greek islands of Samos and Farmakonisi

21.09.2015 / 17:47 / Aegean Sea, Greek islands of Samos and Farmakonisi

Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 20th of September 2015

Case name: 2015_09_20-AEG76
Situation: 4 distress calls in the Aegean Sea, near the Greek islands of Samos and Farmakonisi
Status of WTM Investigation: Concluded
Place of Incident: Aegean Sea

Summary of the Cases: On Sunday the 20th of September 2015 the Alarm Phone dealt with four emergency situations in the Aegean Sea, near the Greek island of Samos and Farmakonisi.

At 3.14am the Alarm Phone was alerted via WhatsApp to a boat in distress very close to the Greek island of Samos (case 1). We asked the contact person to provide us with the phone number of the travellers. Shortly afterwards, he informed us that the travellers had arrived on the island independently.

At 3.26am a contact person informed us about a boat in distress in the same area, between Kuşadası/Turkey and the Greek island of Samos (case 2). He forwarded two phone numbers of travellers on board, but both were not reachable. We called the Greek coastguard in Piraeus at 3.50am and passed the phone numbers and the GPS coordinates of the travellers on to them. Afterwards we sent WhatsApp messages to both the travellers and the contact person and prompted them to call the emergency hotline 112.

At 8.30am the same contact person forwarded a distress call, pointing us to another boat in distress close to the Turkish coast (case 3). With 10 women, 10 children and 10 men on board, the vessel’s engine had broken down. We immediately called the Turkish coastguard, who told us that they had already been informed about this boat. In a WhatsApp message directly from the travellers we learned at 10.30am that they had been rescued and safely returned to Turkey.

In the evening we were informed about a boat with 20 people on board, whose engine had broken down on their way to the Greek island of Farmakonisi (case 4). We were not able to get in touch with the travellers directly, but informed the Greek coastguard in Piraeus about this distress case at 9.34pm. At 11.33pm the Greek coastguard told us that they had been looking for the boat but had not found any boat in distress at the given position. 30 minutes later we learned from the contact person that the boat had been rescued and returned by Turkish authorities.
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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