16/08: 34 travellers rescued to Spain by Salvamento Maritimo

17.08.2017 / 14:02 / Western Mediterranean Sea

Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 16th of August 2017

Case name: 2017_08_16-WM152
Situation: 34 travellers rescued to Spain after being spotted by rescue helicopter
Status of WTM Investigation: Concluded
Place of Incident: Western Mediterranean

Summary of the Cases: On Wednesday the 16th of August at 1.04pm the Alarm Phone was alerted by a contact person to a boat carrying 34 travellers, amongst them five women. The travellers had left from Tangier between 3am and 4am, and the contact person informed us that the boat was now taking water in. Although the contact person claimed to still be in contact with the travellers, we did not manage to reach them on the number he had given us. However, the contact person forwarded their position via WhatsApp, showing that the travellers were very far west of the Strait of Gibraltar. At 1.40pm we decided to call the Spanish search and rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo (SM) and pass on the information that we had. We stayed in contact with the contact person, who could continuously reach the travellers and give us updates.
He told us that the position was not accurate anymore, so the only indication of their whereabout was their description, stating that they could see mountains ahead, and that there was a white and a blue vessel close by. At 2.12pm the contact person informed us that he has talked to SM. They had told him that the travellers were in Spanish waters, and that their rescue boat was close to the travellers.
At 3.38pm we managed to reach the travellers, and even though it was impossible to understand anything being said, we could hear a helicopter very close by. We therefore tried to urge the travellers to stay calm once rescue approached. We immediately called SM to make sure that they had spotted the travellers, which they confirmed that they had. After this, it was no longer possible to reach the travellers, but at 5.11pm the contact person confirmed to us that the travellers had been rescued and brought to Spain.
Last update: 19:01 Sep 06, 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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