29/09: Alarm Phone in contact with 43 travellers who reached the Greek island of Lesvos independently

30.09.2017 / 16:34 / Aegean Sea

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

Case name: 2017_09_29-AEG307
Situation: Alarm Phone in contact with 43 travellers who reached the Greek island of Lesvos independently
Status of WTM Investigation: Concluded
Place of Incident: Aegean Sea

Summary of the Case: On Friday the 29th of September 2017 at 1am, a contact person provided the Alarm Phone with a phone number of travellers in distress in the Aegean Sea. At 1.07am, we were able to reach the travellers by phone. They had left the Turkish coast one hour earlier and were heading in the direction of the Greek island of Lesvos, but they were unable to provide us with their current GPS position. They could see the castle of Mytilini on the island and estimated that they were about 3km off the coast. They were panicking, shouting that they were drowning and that the weather was horrible. We promised to immediately alert the Greek coast guard and to call them back afterwards. At 1.11am, we forwarded all information we had received so far to the Greek Rescue Coordination Centre in Piraeus. At 1.33am, we managed to reach the travellers again. They informed us that there were 43 travellers on board, that they had lights on the boat and that they were still moving towards the island of Lesvos. We told them in turn that the Greek coastguard was looking for them and asked them to stay calm as soon as rescue arrives. In another call with the Greek coastguard at 1.41am, we learned that it might become difficult for the patrol boat to find the travellers in distress, if they were not in possession of their GPS coordinates. However, both the coastguard and we were not able to reach the travellers anymore at that time. At 2.12am, the contact person provided us with two further phone numbers, that we also forwarded to the coast guard at 2.30am. Afterwards, we were not able to reach any of the travellers’ numbers anymore, but at 3.50am, the coast guard informed us that the local port authorities had found and rescued the travellers and that they were all in good condition. At 11.50am of the same day, we wrote a WhatsApp message to the travellers and asked for confirmation of their rescue. At 12.10am, the replied and told us that they had reached the island of Lesvos independently and had not been rescued by the coast guard. They arrived at the beach themselves, went to a street and called the police. They were all in Lesvos now and everyone was fine, they said.
Last update: 11:18 Oct 29, 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

Related Reports

12:51 May 30, 2015 / Aegean Sea, near Lesvos Kms
Distress call from the Aegean Sea, vessel arrived safely
16:26 Mar 08, 2015 / Mytilene Strait, Lesvos, Greece Kms
Approximately 40 people in distress near Mytilene/Lesvos, all rescued
22:33 Apr 20, 2016 / Aegean Sea, Lesvos Kms
19/04: One distress case in the Aegean, near Lesvos
14:39 Apr 17, 2016 / Aegean Sea Kms
16/04: 50 travellers rescued to Lesvos/Greece