29/07 Alarm Phone alerted two boats in distress, both rescued to Spain

30.07.2017 / 15:48 / Morocco/Spain

Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 29th of July 2017

Case name: 2017_07_29-WM149
Situation: Alarm Phone alerted to 2 emergency situations in the Western Med
Status of WTM Investigation: Concluded
Place of Incident: Western Mediterranean Sea

Summary of the Cases:

Case 1: On Saturday the 29th of July 2017, our Alarm Phone shift team was called at 6.31am by a woman who said that she was on a boat with her baby and needed help. There were 12 adults and the baby on board of a rubber dinghy that had left from Tangier at around midnight. The woman was very anxious, stating that water was entering the boat. She was able to see lights in the distance and she guessed that they were from a city. While unable to locate them, we promised to contact the Spanish search and rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo and call her afterwards. Before we could call the Spanish authorities, she reached out again and emphasised their distress situation. We spoke to Salvamento at 6.41am and informed them about the group of travellers. They confirmed that they were looking for a boat carrying 13 people. Five minutes later, the woman called us again, saying that she required immediate help and we informed her that the Spanish coastguards were informed. The woman reached out to us several times, updating us on the urgent distress situation and she told us that they had run out of fuel. At 7.23am, Salvamento stated that they had not yet found the boat. The woman on the boat told us minutes later that she could see several boats in the distance, which were, however, not coming towards them. She specified that there were three vessels, one red and one blue, as well as a cargo ship. We forwarded these details to the Spanish authorities at 7.39am. At 7.48am the boat-people informed us that ‘Cosco shipping’ was written on the blue vessel. We were able to find this vessel online and forwarded its location to Salvamento Maritimo who were grateful to receive a precise position. The boat-people called us again at 8.01am, stating that the Cosco vessel was still nearby. At 8.36am Salvamento confirmed that they had detected the rubber dinghy. At 9.02am they confirmed the successful rescue of the travellers.

Case 2: The Alarm Phone shift team received a message at 8.56am from one of our contact persons in Tangiers/Morocco, who informed us about a boat that had left from Asilah, on the west coast of Morocco, carrying about 30 people. When we spoke to Salvamento Maritimo at 9.02am and they confirmed that they knew of a boat carrying 26 people in that area. The people had embarked at about 2am. Shortly after, our contact person emphasised that there were 30 people on board, including 6 women and 4 infants and he would stay in communication with them. At 10.18am, the Spanish authorities said that they were searching for them but had not yet found their location. At 11.45am, they said that they had still not found the vessel but while searching they had detected other boats in distress. They would send out new assets to conduct Search and Rescue operations. A few hours later, we received the confirmation from our contact person that they had been found and were on their way to be disembarked in Tarifa/Spain.
Last update: 15:54 Aug 01, 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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