Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 14th of January 2017Case name
: Alarm Phone alerted to one boat in distress in the Central MedStatus of WTM Investigation
: Concluded Place of Incident
: Central Mediterranean SeaSummary of the Case:
On Saturday the 14th of January 2017, our WatchTheMed Alarm Phone shift team was alerted by Father Zerai at 5.43am to a vessel in distress in the Central Mediterranean Sea, carrying over a hundred people. In the following hours, we tried to reach the travellers repeatedly on their Thuraya satellite phone, but we could not get through. The Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) informed us at 12.22pm that they were searching for the boat but they were unwilling to pass on any further information. Again at 6.48pm, MRCC Rome stated that they were working on the case, without providing specific information. Then the news broke in the media about a tragedy in the Central Mediterranean (source 1).
MRCC Rome still refused to provide further information when we spoke to them at 10.05pm, as well as in the morning of Sunday the 15th of January. Father Zerai then confirmed to us what we had already feared: the boat that we had tried to reach the day before had capsized. There were more than 100 people on the boat, and only a few survived. At 11.45am, MRCC Rome also confirmed that the boat had capsized, with only 3 men and 1 woman surviving.