20/08: 17 travellers stranded on Kastellorizo, rescued

21.08.2016 / 13:58 / Aegean Sea

Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 20th of August 2016

Case name: 2016_08_20-AEG263
Situation: Alarm Phone alerted to 17 travellers stranded on Kastellorizo, rescued
Status of WTM Investigation: Concluded
Place of Incident: Aegean Sea

Summary of the Case: On Saturday the 20th of August 2016 at 4.40am, a contact person alerted the Alarm Phone to a group of stranded travellers on the Greek island of Kastellorizo. He forwarded the group’s GPS position, WhatsApp number and mobile phone number to us. Beyond that, he informed us that within the group of 17 travellers, there were 5 children and 5 women, 2 of them with medical problems. At 4.47am, we reached the group via WhatsApp. They confirmed their GPS position to us and told us that one woman had problems with their kidneys and another woman was injured at her legs and unable to walk. We promised to organize help and to contact them again later on. At 4.55am, we called the port police of Kastellorizo, but did not reach them. Afterwards, we called the local police on the island. We forwarded the group’s position, but we were told that the police could not get active, because the coastal area where the travellers had stranded was too rocky. We were asked to call the port police again, which would be able to rescue the travellers with the help of a vessel. In case that we would not reach the port police, the officer asked us to urge the travellers to call the emergency hotline 112 by themselves. At 5.05am, we wrote a WhatsApp message to the travellers, asking them to call 112, but they were not online anymore. At 5.10am, we asked the person who had initially informed us about the group in distress to call them back and to forward this information. However, at this point in time, he had also lost contact to the group. At 5.13am, we tried to reach the travellers via phone again, but without success. Thus, at 5.18am, we called the Greek coastguard in Piraeus and forwarded all information we had obtained so far. They promised to take care of the case and to send someone to search for the group. At 5.20am, we talked again to the contact person. He was still not in touch with the group, but we asked him not to worry, because help was presumably on its way and the travellers were at land and not in an immediate situation of distress. At 5.29am, we sent an email to the Greek coastguard and the UNHCR in Greece and Turkey, forwarding all information in written form and alerting them to the stranded group. At 5.38am, we asked the travellers to give us an update on their situation via WhatsApp. At 5.47am, they wrote to us that they had been rescued. They thanked us and stated that they were safe and fine.
Last update: 20:31 Aug 23, 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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