07/04 Alarm Phone alerted to 1 emergency situation in the Western Med

08.04.2016 / 00:31 / Western Mediterranean Sea

Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 7th of April 2016

Case name: 2016_04_07-WM88
Situation: Alarm Phone alerted to 1 emergency situation in the Western Med
Status of WTM Investigation: Concluded
Place of Incident: Western Med

Summary of the Case: On Thursday the 7th of April 2016, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a group of 10 people who were on their way to Tarifa/Spain. At 9.06am, we received a call from a woman who informed us that she was on a boat moving toward Tarifa. She was part of a group of 10 people, 5 men, 4 women and 1 boy. They had left about an hour earlier but it was not clear where exactly they had departed from. She said that she was able to see buildings and mountains ahead. After the initial phone call, we tried to reconnect several times, without success. Due to that fact that we had no confirmation of their location and only partial information about their situation, our shift team decided against reaching out to the authorities straight away. At 10.26am we came through to the boat-people but the line was interrupted before we could speak to them. A minute later they called back but due to connection problems, we were unable to hear anything. We also reached out to our contact persons in Tangier, to ask whether a group of that size had embarked on a journey. We learned that a group had successfully reached Spain already but the size of that group did not match ‘our’ group. Several hours later, at 1pm, we then reached out to the Spanish search and rescue agency Salvamento Maritimo to enquire whether they had knowledge of any vessels in distress in the area. They confirmed that they had rescued one vessel, the one which did not match the size of the group in question. They also stated that the Moroccan Navy had rescued a vessel. We then turned to the Moroccan authorities at 1.25pm but the officers informed us that they had in fact not rescued any vessel and the only vessel in distress had been rescued by Salvamento Maritimo. While trying to reach the people on the boat for several hours, as well as on the following day, we were not able to re-establish contact with them. It could be that the initial information about the number of people on the boat was wrong and that it was, in fact, the vessel that had been rescued by Salvamento Maritimo.
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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