17/02: Travellers in distress in the Western Mediterranean sent their coordinates!

18.02.2016 / 10:31 / Western Mediterranean Sea

Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 17th of February 2016

Case name: 2016_02_17-WM82
Status of WTM Investigation: Concluded
Place of Incident: Western Mediterranean Sea

Summary of the Cases: On Wednesday, the 17th of February 2016, the Alarm Phone was alerted to 1 cases of distress in the Western Mediterranean Sea. It was the first distress case in the Western Mediterranean Sea, in which travellers sent their GPS-coordinates to the Alarm Phone. We have emphasised for some time that it could help to save lives, if travellers in the Western Mediterranean had smartphones with them and were thus able to communicate their exact position.
At 7.29am, a Facebook alert about 7 travellers in distress between Tanger and Tarifa reached us. We reached out to the travellers. They had a smartphone and could thus send us their coordinates. They wrote that they were in urgent need of help. As the boat was still in Morocco waters, we informed the Moroccan Navy as well as the Spanish search and rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo. Our contact person lost touch with the boat, but at 10.12am the Moroccan Navy told us that they had rescued the travellers. We passed on this information to our contact person. She eventually managed to reach the travellers who were all safe. They were brought to a police station in Tanger, but were released after a few hours.
Last update: 15:04 Feb 25, 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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