23/02 Alarm Phone alerted to boat in distress in the Western Med, rescued to Spain

24.02.2016 / 15:04 / Western Mediterranean Sea, Spain

Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 23rd of February 2016

Case name: 2016_02_23-WM83
Situation: Alarm Phone alerted to boat in distress in the Western Mediterranean Sea, rescued to Spain
Status of WTM Investigation: Concluded
Place of Incident: Western Mediterranean Sea

Summary of the Cases: On Tuesday the 23rd of February 2016, our Alarm Phone team was alerted to a vessel in distress in the Western Mediterranean Sea. At 9.52am we received a call from a group of 11 people who had left Tangier about 3 hours earlier and were trying to reach Tarifa/Spain. They were rowing in a zodiac vessel and were tired and thirsty. Since they were very likely still in Moroccan waters and moving toward Spain, we agreed with them to send us regular updates about their well-being in the coming hours. When we could not reach them between 10.20-10.40am, we informed the Spanish search and rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo (SM) and they confirmed that they had rescued a boat with 11 persons on board and a baby. However, both the authorities and we were not entirely convinced that this was the same group of people. SM agreed to work on the case. While we were unable to reach the boat again afterwards, we saw that an activist of Caminando Fronteras had tweeted about a group of 11 people who were between Tangier and Tarifa. When we wrote to them, they confirmed that they had been rescued to Spain. While we cannot ultimately verify whether this was the group in question, it appears to be highly likely.
Last update: 23:08 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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