02/11: 53 travellers in distress brought back to Morocco

03.11.2017 / 16:18 / Western Mediterranean Sea

Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 2nd of November 2017

Case name: 2017_11_02-WM174
Situation: 53 travellers in distress brought back to Morocco
Status of WTM Investigation: Concluded
Place of Incident: Western Mediterranean Sea

Summary of the Case:

On Thursday, 2nd of November, at 9:20pm, we received a call from a boat in distress that had embarked in Larache in Western Morocco, carrying about 50 people, including pregnant women.
They had been on the water for more than 10 hours and their engine had stopped.
At 9:35pm we called the Spanish rescue authority Salvamento Maritimo and informed them about the boat in distress.We couldn't establish a connection to the boat any more.
At 10:20pm we called Salvamento Maritimo again who told us that they had informed the Moroccan Marine Royale that would be searching for the boat.
We sent an email to the respective authorities to inform about the alert.
At 10:40pm we reach the travellers. Their engine was working again and they headed east. At 10:54pm we called Salvamento Maritimo that stated they would also try to reach the boat.
At 11:25pm we received a GPS position of the boat. At 11:31pm we passed it to Salvamento Maritimo. They said that MRCC Rabat was coordinating the rescue and that Salvamento would be in contact with the Moroccan Marine Royale about the case.
At 11:51pm we received an updated position. We called Salvamento Maritimo again and passed it on. They informed us that MRCC Rabat had launched a search and rescue operation.
At 11:58pm we tried to reach MRCC Rabat, but couldn't reach them. At 0:07am they called back, asking for an email with all information and the latest GPS position which we sent at 0:15am. At 1:03am we received a new GPS position from the boat. At 1:04am we passed it to MRCC Madrid that stated it will pass it to the Moroccan authority, but also asked for an email with the information to both MRCC Rabat and Spain. At 1:17am we sent an email to the respective authorities with the updated information.
At 1:30am we received a call from MRCC Rabat that told us they couldn't find the boat at the old position and would send a rescue asset to the new position now.
We couldn't establish connection to the boat anymore. We neither could reach MRCC Rabat. At 2:20am we called MRCC Spain that was in communication with MRCC Rabat and informed us that Rabat had now sent two assets to search for the boat. We requested support for the operation from Spain, as the people hadn't been found yet. At 2:52am we sent another email to emphasize the urgency.
At 2:57am we received a call from MRCC Rabat that told us they would still be searching. At 4:11am they called again and confirmed the rescue of 53 people. At 4:36am we reached one of the travellers that confirmed the rescue.
Last update: 16:20 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

Related Reports

19:09 Sep 01, 2017 / Western Mediterranean Sea Kms
31/08: 38 persons in distress near Moroccan coast, rescued delayed by 20 hours
20:09 Dec 04, 2017 / Western Mediterranean Sea Kms
03/12: 21 travellers from Morocco, 3 people missing
16:15 Nov 01, 2017 / Western Mediterranean Sea Kms
31/10: 23 travellers in distress brought back to Morocco
11:14 Dec 10, 2017 / Western Mediterranean Sea Kms
09/12: 3 travellers intercepted by the Moroccan Navy
22:49 Sep 17, 2016 / Western Mediterranean Sea, Moroccon Kms
16/09: Travellers intercepted by the Moroccan Navy