03/03: 92 travellers leaving from Libya landed on a Libyan peninsula

04.03.2018 / 10:53 / Central Mediterranean Sea

Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 3rd of March 2018

Case name: 2018_03_03-CM122
Situation: 92 travellers lost at sea, arriving to Libyan peninsula on their own.
Status of WTM Investigation: Concluded
Place of Incident: Central Med

Summary of the Case: On Saturday the 3rd of March, at 10.43pm, the Alarm Phone shift team received an email by Father Mussie Zerai, alerting us to a boat in distress, carrying 92 travellers, forwarding us their phone number, along with the number of a contact person in Libya. The travellers had left from Zawiya, Libya, the night before at 02am.
We reached the contact person in Libya, who had just spoken to the travellers, and told us that their situation wasn’t good, but that they were, however, still able to move forwards. We were not able to establish direct contact to the travellers ourselves, even though we could see online that they had credit enough on their Satelite phone.
At 11.43pm we called the Italian coast guard. They were already aware of the case but did also not have the exact position of the travellers. An hour later we spoke with the coast guard again, who thought they had localised the travellers close to El Bouri oil platform and confirmed that they would send a boat to this location. In an attempt to figure out their position, we learned from the contact person that the travellers could see white lights in the far distance, and that they were moving towards the lights. At 02am we spoke to the Italian coast guard again, who were still looking for the travellers in the area they assumed they would be. At 2.42am we managed to establish direct contact to the travellers for the first time. They gave us a position, however, this position turned out to be on land. They confirmed that they could still see the lights, but that they were no longer moving towards them. We passed this information on the Italian coast guard. At 3.40 we called the travellers again. This time they told us that they could see “dry land” where they could disembark. Neither we, nor the Italian coast guard immediately understood where this could be. Through the Italian coast guard we learned that the travellers had disembarked, and were approaching a village. After this it was no longer possible to reach the travellers. At 8.53am we called the Tunisian coast guard in order to clarify whether they had ended up in Tunisia, but they did not know of the boat, and told us that they thought they were back in Libya. At 10.12am we spoke to the contact person again, who informed us that the travellers had now been found by the Libyan police on an island off Zuwarah. We later figured out that they must have arrived to the peninsula Farwa in the state of Zuwarah.
Last update: 11:14 Mar 09, 2018
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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