31/10: 23 travellers in distress brought back to Morocco

01.11.2017 / 16:15 / Western Mediterranean Sea

Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 31th of October 2017

Case name: 2017_10_31-WM173
Situation: 23 travellers in distress brought back to Morocco
Status of WTM Investigation: Concluded
Place of Incident: Western Mediterranean Sea

Summary of the Case:

On Tuesday, 31st of October, at 07:17pm, a contact person informed us about a boat in distress that had left Asilah towards Spain at 2pm. The engine of the boat had stopped. The distress was very urgent and the travellers asked us to inform both Spanish and Moroccan authorities. At 7:30pm we called Salvamento Maritimo Tarifa and passed the information. They said they were in contact with Moroccan Marine Royale that would have already started a rescue operation, as the boat was still in Moroccan territorial waters. We passed the information to the travellers and sent an email to the respective authorities to document the alert.
At 8:25pm we called the boat again, and the travellers told us they hadn't seen a rescue ship yet. At 8:30 we called the Marine Search and Rescue Centre in Morocco. They stated they had already launched a rescue operation and that a helicopter was searching the boat. On Marine Traffic we see the Spanish helicopter of Salvamento Maritimo in the area. We called them again but didn't get further information.
At 8:43pm we received a GPS position from the boat. We passed it to Salvamento Maritimo that confirmed that they had located the boat, but stated they had to wait for the Moroccan Marine as it would be the responsibility of Morocco to conduct a rescue operation.
We continuously tried to reach the boat but couldn't establish a connection. One hour after the location of the boat had been confirmed, at 9:43pm, we called both Spanish and Moroccan authorities again. Still Salvamento Maritimo was waiting for the Moroccan authority to act, which itself repeated they would have launched a rescue operation but would still wait for an updated position of the boat by the Spanish helicopter. We followed the helicopter on Marine Traffic and saw it leaving the area at 10:05pm. At 10:28 we called Salvamento Maritimo again. They said they had to withdraw the helicopter as it was running out of fuel. At 11:27pm we called the Moroccan authorities that said the rescue operation was still going on. At 0:41am we called them again and they confirmed the rescue of everyone on board. Also our contact person confirmed the rescue.
Last update: 16:17 Nov 13, 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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