12/12 Alarm Phone alerted to boat carrying 37 people from Morocco, rescued to Melilla/Spain

13.12.2017 / 14:39 / Western Mediterranean, Morocco/Spain

Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 12th of December 2017

Case name: 2017_12_12-WM196
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 Tuesday the 12th of December 2017, our Alarm Phone shift team was called directly from a boat, carrying 39 people in the Western Mediterranean Sea, including 3 women. At 5.33am, when we spoke to them, they appeared to be in serious distress, and communication was difficult due to a lot of commotion on the boat. We understood that the boat was taking in water and that they were near Melilla. In a phone call at 5.45am, they still were clearly anxious but also stated that they would not want to be returned to Morocco. Their engine had stopped working. When we spoke to the Spanish search and rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo in Almeria at 5.56am, we passed on all the information we had received and they stated that they seemed to be located in Moroccan waters and were thus the responsibility of the Moroccan authorities. However, they told us also to contact Salvamento Maritimo’s central office in Madrid. In the meantime, we had lost contact to the boat and were unable to re-establish a connection. At 6.30am, we spoke to the central coordination centre in Madrid and they confirmed that they had been informed about this case and were currently searching for the boat. At 6.58am, Salvamento Maritimo Almeria called us to inform us that the Spanish Guardia Civil had localised the boat and rescued 37 people, including 3 women, to Melilla. Despite the slightly different number of passengers on the boat, we believed this to be the boat in question. Later, we discovered a source that spoke about this boat which had already been half-sunken when rescue forces reached it. At 6.40pm, one of the persons who had been on the boat called us and confirmed their safe arrival.
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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