10/12: 150 travellers in distress in the Central Mediterranean rescued

11.12.2016 / 10:21 / Central Mediterranean Sea

Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 10th of December 2016

Case name: 2016_12_10-CM95
Situation: 150 travellers in distress between Libya and Italy, rescued by the Italian coast guard
Status of WTM Investigation: Concluded
Place of Incident: Central Mediterranean Sea

Summary of the Cases: On Saturday, the 10th of December 2016 at 7.10am, Father Mussi Zerai alerted us to a group of 150 travellers in distress on their way from Libya to Italy, forwarding us their satellite phone number. At 7.40am we managed to reach the boat, but the communication was very difficult as the connection was bad, and it was not possible to get any new information. At 8.00am we reached the boat again, and this time we managed to get their position, which we passed on to the Italian coast guard. We tried to call the vessel several times without success, but by monitoring the balance on the satellite phone, we could see that they were in regular contact with others. We recharged their phone to allow them to keep making calls. At 2.40pm we talked to the Italian coast guard again, and they told us that they were looking for the boat, and estimated that they would find it within minutes, and then start the rescue operation. An hour later we talked to the group of travellers, and they informed us that they could see a boat, and when we afterwards called the Italian coast guard again, they told us that the rescue was ongoing. At 7.00pm we called back the Italian coast guard to get a confirmation of the rescue, but to our surprise they told us that rescue was still ongoing. Only at 11.20pm did we get a confirmation from the Italian coast guard that the vessel had been rescued and that all the travellers were safe.
Last update: 15:58 Jan 15, 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