22/2 Alarm Phone alerted to 4 emergency situations in the Aegean Sea, near Lesvos

23.02.2016 / 15:25 / Aegean Sea, Lesvos

Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 22nd of February 2016

Case name: 2016_02_22-AEG215
Situation: Alarm Phone alerted to 4 emergency situations in the Aegean Sea
Status of WTM Investigation: Concluded
Place of Incident: Aegean Sea

Summary of the Cases: On Monday the 22nd of February 2016, our Alarm Phone shift teams were alerted to 4 distress situations in the Aegean Sea, all near the Island of Lesvos. All four vessels were either rescued by the Greek coastguards or had been able to reach Lesvos Island independently.

At 4.28am, our shift team received a Facebook message from a contact person, alerting us to a boat near Lesvos, carrying 45 people, including 13 children (case 1). We were also informed that their engine had stopped working. We reached the Greek coastguards at 4.47am and passed on the obtained information. They said that they would take care of the case. At 5.02am, our contact person confirmed that the group had been rescued by the Greek coastguards.

At 8.41am, the activist Nawal Soufi informed our shift team about a boat in distress, near Lesvos (case 2). She had already alerted the Greek coastguards and we reached out to them also at 9.02am and informed them about the case. When we were not able to reach the 40 people on the boat directly for several hours, we got in touch with the Turkish coastguards at 1pm. They stated that they had passed the responsibility for rescuing the vessel on to the Greek authorities as the vessel had already been in Greek waters. They confirmed that the case had been solved and the travellers rescued.

At 9.09am, we received a distress message from a contact person via Facebook, alerting our shift team to a boat in distress, carrying about 45 people to Lesvos (case 3). We managed to speak to the travellers directly at 9.11am and they were in obvious distress. The woman we spoke to said that the vessel was sinking and the engine had stopped to work. Since she was in panic, no further information could be obtained. Moreover, we afterwards lost direct contact to the travellers. We then tried several times to get in touch with the Greek coastguards which was, however, difficult. Also, as in the other cases on this day, the Greek authorities were very uncooperative. Eventually they noted down the information that we had for this case. At 11.20am, our contact person confirmed that the boat had safely arrived on Lesvos. It was either rescued or had been able to reach the island independently.

At 9.18am we received a WhatsApp message from a contact person who informed us about a boat in distress, again near Lesvos (case 4). He told us that the boat was filling up with water and the engine had stopped working. When we could not reach the travellers we tried to inform the Greek coastguards but for a long time we could not get in touch with them. Finally, at 10.03am we spoke to them and passed on the information that we had obtained. At 11.24am we were informed by the initial contact person via WhatsApp that the group had reached the beach of Lesvos.
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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