27/11: Father Zerai informs Alarm Phone on two boats in distress in Central boat; both rescued

28.11.2016 / 15:43 / Central Mediterranean Sea

Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 27th of November 2016

Case name: 2016_11_27-CM92
Situation: Father Mussie Zerai informs Alarm Phone about two boats in distress in Central boat; both rescued
Status of WTM Investigation: Concluded
Place of Incident: Central Mediterranean Sea

Summary of the Case: On Sunday the 27th of November 2016 at 9.20am, Father Mussie Zerai informed the Alarm Phone about a rubber boat in distress with 110 travellers on board, including 30 women and many children and babies. The boat had already started to deflate and watering was entering. The travellers had mentioned that a helicopter had already spotted them. Father Zerai also forwarded their GPS position and Thuraya satellite phone number to us and we tried to call the phone, but without success. At 9.40am, we checked the phone’s credit, it was at 42 units. At 9.50am, Father Musie Zerai sent us another email, informing us that the travellers had left the Libyan shores at 3am in the morning together with another boat with 100 travellers on board, but that they have lost sight of this boat. As the second boat was not in possession of a satellite phone, the travellers on this boat might not able to forward their position. At 10.15am, we called the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Rome and forwarded all information we had received so far. The coastguard was already aware of both boats and confirmed that rescue operations had started. At 10.25am we saw that the credit of the travellers’ Thuraya phone had gone down to 39 units, thus they had used the phone again. In the following four hours, we were not able to reach the travellers, yet the credit remained stable at 39 units. At 2.30pm, we again talked to MRCC Rome and they repeated that rescue operations for both boats were ongoing. At 4.20pm the MRCC confirmed to us that the first boat had successfully been rescued, but we did not receive any information on the second boat. At 4.30pm, we informed Father Mussie Zerai that the boat he had initially informed us about has been rescued. Finally, at 5.20pm, MRCC Rome also confirmed to us that all travellers from the second boat had also been rescued.
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