13/04: 7 persons in distress North of Tangier; rescued by Moroccan Marine Royal

14.04.2017 / 14:28 / Western Mediterranean Sea

Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 13th of April 2017

Case name: 2017_04_13-WM136
Situation: 7 persons in distress North of Tangier; rescued by Moroccan Marine Royal
Status of WTM Investigation: Concluded
Place of Incident: Western Mediterranean Sea

Summary of the Case: On Thursday the 13th of April 2017 at 7.50am, a contact person called the Alarm Phone and alerted us to a rubber boat in distress with 7 travellers on board, who had left from East of Cap Spartel/Morocco at 3am. He forwarded their phone number to us and informed us that their boat was pierced. At 7.55am, we called the travellers on board of the boat directly and they made clear to us that they have to be rescued immediately, even if this would mean that they were brought back to Morocco. Their boat had holes and water was already entering. At 8am, we called the Spanish rescue organization Salvamento Maritimo (S.M.) and forwarded all the information we had received so far. We were told that several vessels were already searching for the boat and that S.M. would do the best they can to rescue the travellers. At 8.05am, we called the travellers back, informed them about our distress call to S.M. and asked them for an update on their current situation. They were still calm, but under great pressure. Although they could see several boats around them, they had lost orientation and were not able to see the coast anymore. We agreed to call them back in 30 minutes. At 8.10am, we called the contact person and updated him on what we did so far. At 8.30am, we confirmed via email what we had already told S.M. by phone. At 8.37am, we saw on Twitter that Spanish activists were also reporting about two zodiacs in distress, with 10 and 11 travellers on board. At 8.40am, we called the travellers we had been in contact with again. They had still not been rescued, yet they told us about a big black and white vessel and further small vessels that they could see in their vicinity. We again agreed to call them back in 30 minutes and promised to forward their update to S.M. At 8.44am, we called S.M. again and learned that they had spotted the boat in distress from a helicopter and that it was still very close to the Moroccan coast. We also informed S.M. that the travellers were able to see a black and white vessel and the officer promised to forward this information. At 8.46am, the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in Madrid informed us via email that Search and Rescue operations were ongoing for three boats, including the one we had been in contact with. Afterwards, on vesselfinder.com, we spotted the vessel OVERSEAS SANTORINI, which could be the big vessel, the travellers had told us about. Beyond that, we saw that S.M.’s rescue vessel SALVAMAR GADIR was operating in the area in question, while S.M.’s helicopter had returned to the Spanish mainland. At 9.10am we called the travellers again and were informed that the Moroccan Marine Royal had rescued them. Obviously, S.M. had informed the Moroccan authorities, yet the travellers were still very relieved and happy that they had been rescued. At 9.12am, we forwarded this information to the person who had initially alerted us to the travellers in distress. In the afternoon of that day, we informed another contact in Morocco about the case and asked him to get in touch with the travellers.
Last update: 14:35 May 02, 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

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