30/08 Alarm Phone alerted to 3 cases of distress off Libya, rescued to Italy

31.08.2016 / 22:09 / Central Mediterranean Sea

Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 30th of August 2016

Case name: 2016_08_30CM82
Situation: Alarm Phone alerted to boat in distress in the Central Mediterranean Sea
Status of WTM Investigation: Concluded
Place of Incident: Central Mediterranean Sea

Summary of the Case: On Tuesday the 30th of August 2016, our Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to 3 cases of maritime distress in the Central Mediterranean Sea. Around 9am, Father Mussie Zerai informed us about 2 vessels in distress off Libya. Vessel 1 carried about 100 people had had left about 7 hours earlier, presumably from Zuwarah. Vessel 2 had presumably also left from there but it was unclear how many people it carried. At 9.10am we were able to recharge one of the satellite phones with credit but we were unable to reach the boats. At 9.50am MRCC Rome confirmed that they knew about the boats in distress already. Our shift team reached vessel 2 at 10.01am and the travellers said that they would look for their GPS coordinates and reach out to us shortly afterwards. At 10.08am and 11.45am they provided us with their new position. At 11.50am we passed this new information on to MRCC Rome.
At about 1pm we received information about a third vessel in distress, again via Father Zerai. The vessel had also left from Zuwarah in Libya. We tried to reach vessel 3 several times and got through to the travellers once, but the connection was bad so that communication was not possible.
We spoke to the passengers of vessel 2 again at 12.09 and 3.25pm. in the second exchange they informed us that they could see a rescue vessel in the vicinity. They said that they were waving with clothes and would soon be rescued. We urge them to remain calm and get ready for the rescue operation. At 3.30pm the travellers informed us that the vessel had passed by without rescuing them. We received new coordinates and passed them on to MRCC Rome at 3.34pm. MRCC Rome confirmed that they were coordinating the rescue of all in all dozens of vessels and that the people would need to patiently wait for their rescue. At 6.25pm MRCC Rome confirmed the rescue of all vessels in distress in that area of the sea. All in all, about 3000 people were rescued in 30 SAR operations on that day.
Last update: 17:47 Sep 17, 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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