26/05: Travellers in distress in the Central Mediterranean, no final confirmation possible

27.05.2017 / 12:08 / Central Mediterranean Sea

Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 26th of May 2017

Case name: 2017_05_26-CM105
Situation: Travellers in distress north of Libya, impossible to get a confirmation of rescue
Status of WTM Investigation: ??
Place of Incident: Central Mediterranean Sea

Summary of the Cases: On Friday, the 26th of May 2017 at 4.53pm, Father Mussie Zerai alerted the Alarm Phone to a boat in distress north of Libya, forwarding us their last position from 3.29pm. At 5.05pm we managed to reach the travellers who told us that they could see small boats in the distance, and that they were in urgent distress. By monitoring the credit of the Thuraya phone we could see that the travellers were continuously in contact with others, and our shift team was able to recharge credit to their phone when needed. We also managed to establish contact to the travellers a few more times, getting news about their situation and an updated position, which showed that the travellers were in international waters. The Italian coast guard was already informed about the case, but we could pass on information from the travellers, and forward the new position. The following morning, we contacted the coast guard to ask about the search and rescue operation, but they did not give us any information. We also tried, unsuccessfully, to get in touch with the company owning a merchant vessel which had been close to the latest position we received from the travellers. Only on the 27th in the evening MRCC in Rome replied to our email, stating that they had not found the boat. Most probably the people of this boat were intercepted by Libyan coastguards.
Last update: 12:15 Jun 10, 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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