29/09: Alarm Phone in direct contact with 6 people in distress on their way to Sicily, rescued to Italy

30.09.2017 / 16:33 / Central Mediterranean Sea

Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 29th of September 2017

Case name: 2017_09_29-CM117
Situation: Alarm Phone directly called by 6 people in distress on their way to Sicily, rescued to Italy
Status of WTM Investigation: Concluded
Place of Incident: Central Mediterranean Sea

Summary of the Case: On Friday the 29th of September 2017, the Alarm Phone was directly called by a group of 6 travellers, who had left from Zuwarah/Libya at about 2am and were heading north in the direction of Sicily in a wooden fishing boat. At 10.36am, they told us that it had started to rain and that the wind and the waves were getting stronger. After receiving their GPS position, at 11.26am, we alerted the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) and forwarded all the information we had received so far by phone and also via email. Later on, we recharged the credit of the travellers’ satellite phone and received another call, in which they stressed that their situation was getting worse. At 1.30pm, the Italian MRCC confirmed to us that they had initiated a rescue operation for this boat and asked us to call back later, in order to receive further updates. 15 minutes later, we talked again to the travellers and informed them that rescue was on its way. In the same call, they told us that they could see a black, white and red vessel with the name Yunova/Geneva. We forwarded this information to the Italian MRCC at 1.50pm, and again received updated coordinates of the travellers at 2.30pm, which we then forwarded to the MRCC at 2.34pm. After another exchange and forwarding of an updated GPS position at about 4.30pm, the Italian MRCC directly called the Alarm Phone at 5.50pm and asked us to communicate to the travellers that they should stop their engine, because they were going too fast in northern direction and the rescue vessel could not follow them. We did so immediately afterwards. At 6.20pm, the travellers called us back, confirmed that they had stopped their engine and told us that they could see a helicopter above them. In another call at 7pm, they informed us that a rescue vessel was close to them and that they were about to be rescued. Although, later on, we were not able to reach the travellers anymore, at 3.30am of the next day, the brother of one of the travellers called us and confirmed to us that the group of 6 had been rescued and brought to Italy.
Last update: 00:17 Nov 19, 2017
Credibility: UP DOWN 0
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  • 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