29/10: Alarmphone in contact with 4 travellers, rescued by Spanish rescue organization close to Moroccan coast

30.10.2017 / 13:10 / Western Mediterranean Sea

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

Case name: 2017_10_29-WM172
Situation: Alarmphone in contact with 4 travellers, rescued by Spanish rescue organization close to Moroccan coast
Status of WTM Investigation: Concluded
Place of Incident: Western Mediterranean Sea

Summary of the Case: On Sunday the 29th of October 2017, at 6.25am, a contact person informed the Alarm Phone about a boat in distress in the Western Mediterranean Sea with four persons on board, who had started from a beach east of Cap Spartel/Morocco at 3am. He provided us with the travellers phone number and we called them at 6.30am. They told us that they were three men and one child on board and that there were strong winds. They could still see the lights of Tanger and were not in immediate distress. In another call at 7am, we learned that they went further in the direction of Spain and could also see the lights of Tarifa. However, in the next call at 7.35am, they told us that their boat had capsized and that they have fallen into the water. Fortunately, they were able to flip the boat and enter it again, yet they lost all their paddles and were forced to paddle with their bare hands. Thus, they asked us to immediately call the Spanish or even the Moroccan coast guard. At 7.40am, we called the Spanish rescue organization Salvamento Maritimo (S.M.). They were already aware of the boat in distress and told us that they had sent a helicopter and a rescue vessel. At 7.43am, we forwarded this news to the travellers and urged them to stay calm in order to prevent another capsizing. At 7.52am, we also provided S.M. with all our information in written form, via email. In another call with the travellers at 8.13am, the travellers told us that they could see a rescue vessel in the east, but feared not to be seen by its crew. Thus, at 8.15am, we forwarded this information to S.M. They thanked us and confirmed that they had also been in direct contact with the travellers. Afterwards, we observed on vesselfinder.com, that the Spanish rescue vessel Guardamar C Arenal was searching close to the Moroccan coast. In two subsequent calls to the travellers at 9am and 9.30am respectively, we first learned that the helicopter had spotted the boat and second that the rescue vessel was approaching them. At 9.47am, we saw on vesselfinder.com, that the Spanish rescue vessel Guardamar C Arenal had turned and was about to head back north in the direction of Spain. Finally, at 10am, Salvamento Maritimo confirmed to us that they had indeed rescued the 4 travellers in distress and were transferring them to Tarifa/Spain.
Last update: 08:23 Oct 31, 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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