28/2 Alarm Phone alerted to 10 emergency situations in the Aegean Sea, Lesvos, Ro, Pasas and Kastellorizo

29.02.2016 / 18:50 / Aegean Sea, Lesvos, Ro, Pasas and Kastellorizo

Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 28th of February 2016

Case name: 2016_02_28-AEG221
Situation: Alarm Phone alerted to 10 emergency situations in the Aegean Sea
Status of WTM Investigation: Concluded
Place of Incident: Aegean Sea

Summary of the Cases: On Sunday the 28th of February 2016, our Alarm Phone shift teams were alerted to 10 emergency situations in the Aegean region. Several distress situations occurred near Lesvos, where the Greek coastguards rescued 4 vessels and 1 group of travellers was able to reach the island by themselves. Another group of refugees had called us in severe distress and while we did not know where they were exactly, they stated later on that they had been rescued, presumably to Greece. 4 groups had stranded on different Greek islands (Ro, Pasas, Kastellorizo and Oinousses) and by the morning of the following day, they had been found and transferred off these islands.

At 1.46am, we received a case of distress via a contact person on Facebook (case 1). He informed us about a vessel moving to Lesvos and passed on contact details of the travellers. At 1.47am we reached the boat and spoke to a man who told us that they were 25 people in total, including 10 women and 8 children. They were already close to the beach and a vessel was nearby, so they seemed to be doing ok. At 2.15am they were nearly on the beach and informed us that they were being assisted by a vessel. We passed on the w2eu info-guide (http://www.w2eu.info/) and shortly afterwards received the confirmation that they had safely arrived on Lesvos.

At 2.58am, we received a WhatsApp message from a contact person who told us about 68 people on a boat on its way to Lesvos in severe distress (case 2). We called the travellers at 3.04am and while we had difficulties communicating, there was a lot of noise and shouting on the boat. At 3.08am we spoke to the Greek coastguards and passed on the location of the vessel. They called us back at 3.22am, saying that they had been unable to reach the travellers and needed further information. We then learned through one of our contact persons that Greek coastguards were approaching the vessel and at 3.50am the Greek coastguards called us to inform us that they had rescued the group in question.

At around 5.45am, we were alerted to another boat in distress near Lesvos via an informant (case 3). We called the travellers on board and they were about 40 people. They told us that their engine was breaking down repeatedly. They had already alerted the Greek coastguards half an hour earlier and were moving closer toward Lesvos. We agreed to stay in touch and monitor their situation. At 6.20am we called the Greek coastguards who stated that they had various rescue boats out in that area. Hours later, at about 9.30am, we received the confirmation via a contact person that the group had been rescued by the Greek coastguards and were fine.

At around the same time we were informed about case 3, we were told about a group of about 57 people, including 20 women and 21 children, who had stranded on Ro Island and needed assistance (case 4). We reached out to the Greek coastguards who stated that they knew about this group. We were unable to get in direct contact to them but later learned from our contact person that they were doing fine.

Also around 6am, we were told about yet another vessel on its way to Lesvos (case 5). The engine of the boat had stopped working and they were unable to re-start it. Our contact person had sent information to them on how to re-start it. We reached out to the boat and afterwards to the Greek coastguards. They took down the GPS coordinates and at 7.15am we learned via our contact person that they had been rescued.

At 7.28am, a direct call from a boat in distress near Lesvos reached us (case 6). They were very anxious and said they were drowning. We asked for their GPS position and they said they would pass them on via WhatsApp. We received them 2 minutes later as well as another distress call from the boat but from another number. At 7.36am we called the Greek coastguards and they said that they would send out a rescue vessel. At 7.47am the travellers informed us via WhatsApp that the coastguards were arriving. At 7.57am they told us that they were fine.

At 10.33pm, activist colleagues of our informed us about a group of 48 people, including 6 women and 30 children, who had stranded on Pasas Island and needed support (case 7). We informed the Port Authority of Chios who said that they would rescue the group. At 00.49am we received a message informing us that one of the pregnant women was in pain and needed medical care. At 00.52am the Chios Port Authority said that they would not be able to send a boat out due to the bad weather conditions, so the group would have to wait until the morning. In the meantime we learned that Greek army personnel had instructed the travellers to move up the hill on Pasas. In the following hours, we were unable to speak to the group again. At 8.23am, the Port Authority of Chios confirmed that they had sent out a vessel. We were also informed by contact persons that there were more people on the island than assumed, now about 122 people, including 38 women and 45 children. In the following hours we learned that the people were gradually transferred off the island and all seemed to be fine health-wise.

At 10.50pm, an activist colleague informed us about a boat that had landed on Kastellorizo Island (case 8). We spoke to them via a Farsi-speaking member of the Alarm phone at around 11pm and they informed us that they were 5 people in need of help. We informed that Kastellorizo Port Authority at 11.15pm and they confirmed that they would search for the group. At 2.43am, the group confirmed that they had reached a town. Despite having to sleep rough, they said they were doing ok.

At 11.30pm, a contact person informed us about a group of travellers that had stranded on Oinousses Island (case 9). They were 8 women and about 25 children from Syria. We informed the Port Authority of Chios and they confirmed that they would rescue them in the morning. At 00.43am, our contact person said that they had been found, either by the coastguards or the Red Cross.

At 11.49am we received a direct call from a group of Afghan refugees who were on their way to Greece (case 10). Communication was difficult as they were very anxious and in panic. We were able to communicate with them at 00.15am when they said that they had been found and rescued.
Last update: 18:58 Mar 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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