14/07: 2 boats in distress in the Western Mediterranean Sea, 1 picked up by the Moroccan Navy, 1 rescued and transferred to Melilla, Spain

15.07.2017 / 11:38 / Western Mediterranean Sea

Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 14th of July 2017

Case name: 2017_07_14-WM148
Situation: 2 boats in distress in the Western Mediterranean Sea,
Status of WTM Investigation: Concluded
Place of Incident: Western Mediterranean Sea

Summary of the Case: On Friday, the 14th of July 2017, we were alerted to 2 cases in the Western Mediterranean Sea.
Case 1: At 5.36 am a contact person alerted us to one boat, carrying 11 persons that had left from Morocco around 2am. At 7am, the contact persons asked us to inform the Coastguard about the boat. We reached out to the travellers and they told us that they could see a ship of Salvamento Maritimo (S.M.). On Marinetraffic we could see a ship by S.M. waiting on the sea border. Our contact person told us that S.M. was looking for two boats, one that had left Morocco around the same time as the boat we were in touch with. Around 8am, it seemed that S.M. was performing a rescue operation - probably of the other boat, as the travellers on 'our' boat had lost sight of the S.M. boat. At 8.50 we called S.M. They already knew about the 2 boats, and had also been in touch with the travellers on 'our boat. However, they could not locate them. They also told us about a boat with 7 people that had been picked up by the Moroccan Navy during the night. t 9.25 we talked to S.M. again, They now seemed to have a better idea of where to find the boat and were heading into that direction. Half an hour later, at 10am, however the S.M. boat turned around and headed back to Spain. As we learned from the travellers later, they were picked up by the Marine Royal and taken back to Morocco.
Case 2: At 1pm, a contact person informed us about 26 women who had left Morocco during the night to Spain and who had stranded on a Spanish military island, close to El Hoceima, Morocco. His last contact with the women had been at about 5am local time so about 7 hours earlier. He told us that he would try to find out more about the women's situation and call us back. At 2.30pm we learned through a media article that the Spanish NGO Caminando Fronteras was also in touch with the women and that the case was thus already known. We tried several times to get in touch with the women, but could not reach them. At 4.30pm our contact person told us that the group had most probably been transferred to the Spanish enclave of Melilla. We contacted a friend in Melilla and asked him to check whether the women had arrived there. At 7pm, Helena Maleno Garzon from Caminando Fronteras posted on facebook that a convoi with 26 women and 5 children would be transferred from Isla de Mar to Melilla. On Saturday morning, our contact from Melilla confirmed that the group of women and children had safely arrived in Melilla.
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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