Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 20th of October 2016Case name
: Alarm Phone alerted to 1 emergency situation in the Western MedStatus of WTM Investigation
: Concluded Place of Incident
: Western Mediterranean SeaSummary of the Case:
On Thursday the 20th of October 2016, at 9.11am, our Alarm Phone shift team received a call from a Moroccan number. The person told us that there were seven men on a zodiac in the Western Mediterranean Sea, moving from Tangier to Tarifa. While we were able to re-establish contact to the boat once more, we could not gather more details about their situation.
At 9.17am, our shift team was informed by a contact person to a boat in distress in the Western Mediterranean Sea. We received a phone number of one of the travellers. While we reached them at 9.24am, the connection was unstable and it was difficult to make out what they were saying. We did learn that the boat had started at 00.30am from Tangier and was on its way to Tarifa. They had lost orientation and before we could gather more details on the situation, the connection broke off. When we tried to call again, several times, the phone could not be reached. The contact person informed us that he was also unable to reach the boat.
We then alerted the Spanish search and rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo about what could have possibly been two separate cases of distress. Salvamento Maritimo informed the Moroccan coastguards to the situation and informed us then at 1.33pm that they were still waiting for a confirmation from the Moroccan authorities. At 2.14pm, they informed us that a boat with 7 people had been found by the Moroccan authorities. While it cannot be exhaustively verified that this was the boat in question, it seems likely. Later in the afternoon, our initial contact person confirmed that the people had been returned to Morocco. It seems very likely that we were dealing with one boat in distress the entire time.