15/04: 160 people in distress rescued north of Zawiya/Libya

16.04.2017 / 14:41 / Central Mediterranean Sea

Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 15th of April 2017

Case name: 2017_04_15-CM103
Situation: 160 people in distress rescued north of Zawiya/Libya
Status of WTM Investigation: Concluded
Place of Incident: Central Mediterranean Sea

Summary of the Case: On Saturday the 15th of April 2017 at 6.46am, the Alarm Phone was directly called from a boat in distress in the Central Mediterranean Sea, which had departed from Zawiya/Libya with 160 people on board. At 6.56am, we called the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Rome and forwarded the Thuraya satellite phone number of the travellers. In the next three hours, we tried to reach the travellers every 10 minutes, but without success. We checked the satellite phone’s credit, which was at 153.1 units and remained unchanged until 10am. At 7.35am, we also send a SMS to the travellers, asking for their GPS position. At 9am, we wrote an email to the crew of Jugend Rettet’s IUVENTA, informing them about the boat in distress and forwarding its satellite phone number. At 10am, we were able to speak to the travellers again and asked them to forward their current GPS position to us. At 10.16am, we received their position via SMS. At 10.20am we called MRCC Rome again and forwarded the GPS position of the boat in distress. They confirmed to us that they would search for the boat. At 10.33am, we forwarded this information via SMS to the travellers. At 10.35am, the travellers phone credit was at 134.2 units. At 10.50am, we provided MRCC Rome via email with the GPS coordinates. At 11.25am, we also forwarded the position to the crew of IUVENTA, because they were still in the area north of Zawiya. At 11.38am, the travellers phone credit went down to 111.9 units and at 12am it was 107.4 units. At 12.30am, we tried to reach the travellers again, and at 12.40am we received an updated GPS position via SMS. We immediately asked for further information, but received no answer. At 12.44am, we forwarded the updated position of the boat to the MRCC in Rome via email. In the following hour, their satellite phone’s credit went slightly down to 105 units at 1.41pm. At 2.15pm, we asked them for another updated position. At 2.17pm, they sent us their current position via SMS. At 2.18pm, their phone’s credit went down to 94 units. One hour afterwards, at 3.09pm, they wrote in another text message ‘We are ok but we need your help right now’. At 3.22pm, their credit was at 79.1 units. At 3.23pm, we sent another text message and called them again at 3.25pm. They heard that they were in severe distress and asked for help. At 3.30pm, we called MRCC Rome again and were told that they did not need an updated position because they were already in contact with the boat and had all the information necessary to perform a rescue operation. We asked for a confirmation that a rescue operation was ongoing, but received no answer. In the following two hours, we regularly tried to call the travellers, but did not reach them. We monitored their phone’s credit, which remained at 65.7 units from 3.40pm onwards. In the evening of that day, at 11.20pm, the MRCC in Rome confirmed to us that the boat had been rescued.
Last update: 10:27 Jun 11, 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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