27/08 Alarm Phone alerted to boat in distress, rescued by fishermen and returned to Morocco

28.08.2017 / 18:11 / Western Mediterranean, Morocco

Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 27th of August 2017

Case name: 2017_08_27-WM154
Situation: Alarm Phone alerted to emergency situation in the Western Med
Status of WTM Investigation: Concluded
Place of Incident: Western Mediterranean Sea

Summary of the Case: On Sunday the 27th of August 2017, our Alarm Phone shift team was contacted at 8.22am from a boat that had left from Tangier/Morocco with 7 people on board, including 2 women, one of whom was pregnant. They were on a yellow-blue plastic boat and had lost orientation. The battery of their phone was running low and they were urgently asking for assistance. At 8.45am we reached out to Salvamento Maritimo (S.M.), the Spanish search and rescue organisation, which had already received some information about this distress case. About an hour later, the Spanish authorities confirmed that they were searching for them. In an exchange with the travellers at 10.12am, they stated that they were unable to send us their GPS location and that they had not yet heard from S.M..

Around noon, the Spanish authorities informed us that they had also notified the Moroccan Navy. Shortly after, the travellers informed us that they could see two vessels on the Moroccan side, and we passed this information on to S.M. At 2.25pm, the travellers informed us that they were still in distress and that an orange boat was nearby but apparently not seeing them. We informed S.M. about this. We tried to reach the travellers several times in the following hours, but their phone seemed to be off. In the evening, at around 9pm, S.M. informed us that they had found a boat in the afternoon, carrying 10 people. Unable to confirm whether this was the boat in question, they stated that they would continue the search. The next day, someone picked up the phone briefly but we were not able to communicate.

Two days later, we were finally able to reach them. They told us that they had tried to forward us their GPS position but their phone was wet and did not function properly. In the end, some Moroccan fishermen helped them return to Morocco and they reached Morocco all unharmed.
Last update: 19:03 Sep 06, 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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