11/08 Alarm Phone alerted to vessel in distress in the Western Med, returned by Moroccan Navy

12.08.2016 / 09:39 / Western Mediterranean Sea

Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 11th of August 2016

Case name: 2016_08_11-WM114
Situation: Alarm Phone alerted to 1 emergency situation in the Western Med
Status of WTM Investigation: Concluded
Place of Incident: Aegean Sea

Summary of the Case: On Thursday the 11th of August 2016, the WatchTheMed Alarm Phone was alerted to a vessel in distress in the Western Mediterranean Sea. At 7.47am, our shift team received a call from a contact person in Morocco who informed us about a vessel carrying 7 people at sea. They had left about 4 hours earlier from Morocco and were heading toward Tarifa/Spain. We then called the boat-people and they were evidently anxious and panicky, urgently asking us to inform the Spanish search and rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo, which we did at 8.12am. Afterwards we were in regular contact with the refugees and tried to advise them to stay calm and wait for the SAR operation. At 8.49am, the refugees reported that they could see a plane above them. At 9.09am, Salvamento Maritimo informed us that the Moroccan Navy had discovered the refugees. When we were unable to reconnect with the refugees, we contacted the initial contact person and informed him about the developments. At 11.51am, the refugees contacted us and informed us that they were with the Moroccan authorities. A friend of the Alarm Phone in Morocco then reached out to them and learned at noon that the refugees had been returned to Moroccan mainland and that they would be released once they had been identified by the Moroccan authorities.
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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