31/03: 40 travellers in Greek waters close to Agathonisi pulled back by the Turkish coast guard

01.04.2018 / 16:07 / Aegean Sea

Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 31st of March 2018

Case name: 2018_03_31-AEG360
Situation: 40 travellers close to the Greek island Agathonisi, pulled back to Turkey by the Turkish coast guard.
Status of WTM Investigation: Concluded
Place of Incident: Aegean Sea

Summary of the Case: On Saturday the 31st of March, at 02.30am, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted by a contact person to a group of 40 travellers heading towards Agathonisi, forwarding us their phone number and a position showing that they were in Greek waters. We were not able to reach the travellers, but at 2.36am we called the Greek coast guard and alerted them to the distress of the travellers. At 03.24am we called the Greek coast guard again, and they informed us that the boat had been rescued by a patrol vessel. During the following day we continuously tried to reach the travellers, and at 8.45pm we received a message from them confirming that they were all safe. However, only on the 2nd of April in the afternoon did we learn that the travellers had not been rescued by the Greek coast guard and brought to Greece as we expected, but intercepted by the Turkish coast guard and illegally pulled back to Turkey, despite having reached Greek waters.
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