31/05 Alarm Phone alerted to two vessels in distress in the Western Med, rescued to Spain

01.06.2017 / 18:30 / Western Mediterranean Sea

Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 31st of May 2017

Case name: 2017_05_31-WM138
Situation: Alarm Phone alerted to 2 emergency situations in the Western Med
Status of WTM Investigation: Concluded
Place of Incident: Western Mediterranean Sea

Summary of the Case: On Wednesday the 31st of May 2017, the WatchTheMed Alarm Phone was alerted to two distress situations in the Western Mediterranean Sea. At 2.40pm, a contact person in Morocco informed us about a plastic vessel that had left from Nador/Morocco with 32 people on board. Due to limited information available, our shift team could not directly support the travellers, who were shortly after rescued to Spain.

In the evening, at 8.35pm, the same contact person informed us about a second boat that had left from Nador, already during the night, at approximately 3am, carrying 33 people, including 2 women. He was concerned as he had not heard from them for quite some time. However, also in this case, no direct contact to the group could be established. In a phone conversation with the Spanish search and rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo at 1.40am, we were informed that a rescue operation was ongoing. The Spanish authorities told us that they knew of one boat carrying about 32 people as well as another rubber boat that had reached Alboran Island, a small Spanish island located in the Western Mediterranean Sea. While unable to verify whether this was the boat in question, we passed these information on to our contact person in Morocco. At 3.26am he confirmed that they had been rescued from the island. Later we learned that there were three boats in total that had been rescued to Spain that day.
Last update: 19:37 Jun 03, 2017
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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