24/01: Alarm Phone alerted to boat in distress between Turkey and Lesvos/Greece

25.01.2016 / 19:50 / Aegean Sea

Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 24th of January 2016

Case name: 2016_01_24-AEG192
Situation: Alarm Phone
Status of WTM Investigation: Concluded
Place of Incident: Aegean Sea

Summary of the Case: On Sunday the 24th of January 2016 the Alarm Phone was alerted to a group of travellers with motor problem between the Turkish coast and the Greek island of Lesvos. We contacted both the Turkish and the Greek coastguard, but in the end the travellers were able to reach the Greek island of Lesvos independently.

A contact person called the Alarm Phone at 5am and informed us about a boat with 45 people on board, whose engine had stopped working. He forwarded their phone number and GPS coordinates to us, which showed them about 1.5 kilometres off the Turkish coast. Although we did not reach the travellers directly we decided together with the contact person to alert the Turkish coastguard and did so at 5.15am. The Turkish coastguard had already received the same phone number, but with coordinates on land. However, they asked to try to call the travellers again and to urge them to call the Turkish emergency hotline 158. During the next 30 minutes we were neither able to speak to the travellers nor to the contact person, but at 5.45am we talked briefly with the travellers and received updated coordinates form the contact person, which were still located in Turkish territorial waters. We asked the contact person to urge the travellers to call 158. One hour afterwards the contact person called us again and forwarded new coordinates to us. In the meantime, the travellers had reached Greek territorial waters and hence we alerted the Greek coastguard at 6.50am and forwarded all our information. We were again asked to urge the travellers to call the national emergency hotline, and asked the contact person to hand over this plea to the travellers in case of distress. However, at 7.15am the contact person told us that the travellers had safely arrived on Lesvos island. Finally we handed over this information to the Greek Coastguard.
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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