30/08: Alarm Phone directly called by 6 people on fishing boat east of Tripoli, Libya, rescued to Italy after 24h at sea

31.08.2017 / 18:48 / Central Mediterranean Sea

Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 30th of August 2017

Case name: 2017_08_30-CM115
Situation: Alarm Phone directly called by 6 people on fishing boat east of Tripoli, Libya, rescued to Italy after 24h at sea
Status of WTM Investigation: Concluded
Place of Incident: Central Mediterranean Sea

Summary of the Case: On Wednesday the 30th of August 2017 at 8.52am, the Alarm Phone was called from a small fishing boat with 3 men, 2 women and one child on board, who had left 10 hours earlier from al Khums, Libya. We immediately forwarded their GPS position and satellite phone number to the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) by phone and via email. At 9.15am, the travellers called us again, and we asked them to also call the MRCC directly. Afterwards, we recharged their satellite phone with 20 units and reached out to the NGO rescue vessel Aquarius, but their vessel was not close by. In the following two hours, the credit of the travellers’ satellite phone remained stable, but we also did not reach them again. Only at 11am, we again talked to them. Their boat was still moving and they provided us with updated GPS coordinates, which we forwarded to the Italian MRCC at 11.45am. Afterwards, we did not reach the travellers for about 5 hours, and their phone’s credit remained the same. At 4.20pm, we were able to talk to them again and received an updated GPS position. Their engine was still working and they were heading north, but the child on board was in very bad conditions. We forwarded the new position to the MRCC at 4.30pm, and, five minutes later, the travellers told us in another call that they could see a helicopter above them. Afterwards, we again charged their satellite phone’s credit and informed the MRCC in Rome via phone and email that the travellers could see a helicopter. One hour later, we were again in contact with the travellers, whose boat was still followed by the helicopter. At 6.15pm, they told us that they have been in touch with the MRCC and received advice to go in the direction of the closest rescue vessel, which was, however, still 3 hours away. At 6.50pm, we recharged the phone again, and in another call at 7.08pm, the travellers told us that MRCC had urged them to go back in southern direction and that they feared to be intercepted by the Libyan coastguard. Thus, we called the MRCC at 7.23pm, and they confirmed to us that there was an Italian SAR vessel south of the fishing boat. At 7.47pm, the travellers told us that they would see a rescue vessel and we urged them to make light signals. In another call to the MRCC in Rome at 10.16pm, they refused to give us any information on the ongoing rescue operation. Only on the next day at 10pm, the MRCC confirmed to us that the travellers had been rescued and safely brought to Italy.
Last update: 16:21 Oct 28, 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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