19/01: Alarm Phone alerted to boat in distress near Farmakonisi

20.01.2016 / 19:23 / Aegean Sea

Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 19th of January 2016

Case name: 2016_01_19-AEG187
Situation: Alarm Phone alerted to boat in distress near Farmakonisi
Status of WTM Investigation: Concluded
Place of Incident: Aegean Sea

Summary of the Case: On Tuesday the 19th of January 2016 the Alarm Phone was informed about a boat in distress on its way to the Greek island of Farmakonisi. After we had alerted the Greek coastguard, the boat was able to arrive on the island independently. However, we stayed in contact with the travellers and monitored how the authorities dealt with the group.

At 8.05pm the Alarm Phone received a distress call from a person who had lost contact to his family on a boat with about 20 travellers on board and who provided us with their phone number and GPS coordinates. 20 minutes later we received another phone number and updated coordinates, which showed the group close the Greek island of Farmakonisi. We tried to call the travellers at 8.30pm but did not reach them. At 8.40pm we informed the Greek coastguard and forwarded the position and phone number of the boat in distress. But at 8.47pm the contact person told us that the boat had arrived on the island of Farmakonisi. Thus we called the port authorities on the island of Leros and informed them about the boat stranded on Farmakonisi. We were told that a rescue vessel was picking up other travellers on the island at that time and we asked the port authorities to also transfer the group we had been alerted to. Shortly afterwards we learned from the contact person that the Greek military had picked up the group and we forwarded this information to the authorities on Leros, asking them to get in contact with the military on Farmakonisi. At 9.10pm we received new GPS coordinates from the contact person, which indicated that the travellers had been brought to the harbour of Farmakonisi. However, at 9.15pm we were informed via WhatsApp that the authorities had informed the travellers that they have to stay on Farmakonisi overnight. In another call with the authorities on Leros we were told that indeed some travellers have to wait on the island until another rescue vessel will arrive. In two further messages from the contact person we were informed that it was very cold outside, but that at least women and children had been brought to a hall together with 200 other travellers. The groups had been informed that they would be transferred to the island of Leros on the next day. In another call with the authorities on Leros at 9.45pm this information was confirmed to us that the travellers and we were told that they would be provided with warm clothes and food.
Last update: 19:59 Feb 03, 2016
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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