Over 1,700 counted fatalities in the Mediterranean this year +++ We’ll Come United Parade in Hamburg +++ Developments in all three Mediterranean regions +++ Summaries of 61 Alarm Phone distress cases
‘Maybe it was the most beautiful day of the year – maybe even the most beautiful parade since parades exist’. What the organisers of the We’ll Come United Parade wrote a day after 30.000 people marched the streets of Hamburg, was not an exaggeration. Under the motto ‘united against racism’, the largest migrant-led demonstration in the history of Germany brought demands for equal rights for everyone, the end of violent borders, deportations, and racist marginalisation to the streets. The Alarm Phone was present and part of the ‘Sea-Rescue’ truck to collectively protest the ongoing dying in the Mediterranean Sea. As it reads in the We’ll Come United list of demands:
In the Mediterranean, Europe shows that human dignity and human rights apply only to those who have a European passport or the right skin colour. Europe is murdering in the Mediterranean and criminalising solidarity. We call for an end to the dying at sea, in camps and on Greek islands, where thousands have been waiting for their rights for years. We call for safe escape routes, the right to protection, migration and asylum and an immediate end to the obstruction and criminalisation of civil sea rescue. We call on all city governments to create solidarity-based cities and safe havens and to counterbalance the right-wing governments of Europe.
Across the three Mediterranean regions we can see how pressing these demands are. Over the last 4 weeks, the period that this report covers, the Alarm Phone assisted in 61 distress situations in the Mediterranean Sea and had to witness, once again, several shipwrecks that caused the loss of many lives.
Developments in the Western Mediterranean Sea
Up until the 30th of September 2018, the UNHCR registered 42,470 migrant arrivals to Spain, of which 37,441 were sea crossings. 1,881 crossed into the Spanish colony of Ceuta and 3,935 people reached the colony of Melilla. 602 travellers crossed the Atlantic Ocean and reached the Canary Islands. Although the vast majority came from Morocco, people from Algeria also departed via the sea, with 1,231 people reaching the eastern side of the Spanish peninsula.
Alarm Phone Shift experiences
In our last 6 week report, we mentioned the ongoing search for a boat with 52 people on board that went missing on the 29th of August somewhere in Moroccan and Algerian waters. Over the days after it went missing, nine bodies were retrieved from the sea in Algeria, and four bodies were found at the beach of Saidia on the Moroccan side. The Algerian authorities also reported about a capsized boat with more than 50 persons on board. As we could not find any further information on the boat of the 52, we now have to assume that it capsized and many, maybe all people lost their lives. Around the same week, on the 3rd of September, 61 people part of a sea-convoy went missing and they were never found. Both tragedies in the Western Mediterranean could have been avoided by simply allowing the travellers to embark on the ferries that move frequently and every day between Morocco and Spain.
As in the weeks before, also in September we received many distress cases from the Western Mediterranean Sea, as summarised below. On Monday, 10th of September, we were alerted to a boat in urgent distress that had left from Nador towards Spain, carrying 54 people, among them 17 women and 3 children. We reached the group around 11am CEST. The situation was already very urgent, with the rubber boat losing air and water coming into the boat. We immediately alerted the Spanish rescue authority Salvamento Marítimo (SM) in Almería, but they stated that the boat would be too close to the Moroccan shore for them to intervene. We thus tried to alert the Moroccan authorities in Rabat, as the people needed immediate assistance. At noon, we managed to establish a connection to MRCC Rabat and they promised to send the Navy to the location. We stayed in contact with several people on board for many hours. When a petrol canister toppled over in the boat, many people suffered from burned skin, children started to vomit, and several people lost consciousness. Nevertheless, the travellers remained courageous and strong, committed to reach the shore. At that time, they were not trying to reach Spain any longer – they simply tried to stay alive and return ashore the Moroccan coast. We had passed the exact GPS position to Rabat but no assistance arrived. We continued to call the authorities, that kept on promising to intervene. Some intense hours later, the travellers had managed to reach the Moroccan shore independently. Later they told us that when they arrived, the Moroccan police was already waiting for them at the beach, so they had known exactly where the boat was and had simply not intervened, despite dozens of lives being at serious risk. One man who had spoken to us throughout the journey helped to carry the children and the injured to the beach. None of the Moroccan forces helped, the officers observed the arrival and arrested the whole group after reaching the beach. 5 people were brought to the hospital to treat their burns, the man who had carried the injured was arrested separately and the others were brought first to the commissariat and then immediately into a bus to deport them to the south of Morocco. This case vividly illustrates the brutality of the Moroccan border regime. Despite knowing their location and serious distress situation, the authorities would have let the people drown at sea (see the full report here: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1025).
On Tuesday the 25th of September, we saw another extreme example of just how far the Moroccan authorities, pressurised by European institutions and states, are willing to go. When a boat close to Ceuta refused to “obey orders”, the Moroccan authorities opened fire on them. This extreme attack on people doing nothing but peacefully exercising their freedom of movement, caused one Moroccan woman getting killed and three others seriously wounded. This tragedy shows that not only Sub-Saharan travellers are suffering from the increased repression at the border, but that anyone not holding the “rights papers” who are trying to nevertheless cross Europe’s external borders can be subjected to such violence. When people defend themselves, they have to expect harsh counter-measures. 17 people from different Sub-Saharan countries were sentenced to two months in prison after protecting themselves against the Moroccan auxiliary forces who violently tried to prevent them from entering the Spanish colony Ceuta. At the court case in Tetouan on the 10th of September, they were charged with violence against officers on duty, “weapon possession” (though the only weapon used were rocks they could pick up), and illegal entry. The 17 people were part of a larger group of 116 people who were deported back to Morocco after entering Ceuta.
Ongoing raids – Voices from Morocco
On the 11th of September, another member of the Alarm Phone in Morocco was violently arrested and deported to the south of the country. The Moroccan police entered a house where two members of the Alarm Phone live and arrested everyone who was present there. They also stole their money and mobile phones. Our friend and colleague was beaten violently and even lost a couple of teeth. Afterwards, he was removed to the south of Morocco, to Tiznit. He was able to return to Tangier a few days later, but he requires medical treatment. He says: “I can never forget this day, the 11th of September. It was like a nightmare. In the six years that I have lived in Morocco, I have never seen practices as cruel as these. This violence is not justified – let’s hope it will stop…”
On the 24th of September another Alarm Phone member was arrested in Tangier and deported to Agadir. He reported being handcuffed along with everyone else during the whole journey. After being let out in Agadir, our friend informed us that he was not able to return to Tangier immediately, as all bus companies refused to let Sub-Saharans on their busses towards the north. This is an issue we have heard about from several friends who ended up being stuck in the south of Morocco for long periods of time because of the lack of options to return. Given that they are left without personal belongings after the often violent and traumatic deportations to the south, they have no means of getting by in an unknown place and are left in an extremely vulnerable situation.
Deportations to countries of origin
On the 20th of September, the Moroccan human rights association AMDH reported that around 50 Sub-Saharan migrants were being illegally arrested and held in Tangier, where representatives from their countries of origin appeared and made photo copies of their passports. Following this, they were moved to an unknown location where they were being held. The following day, AMDH posted a testimony from a group of Ivorian migrants who had been deported back to Ivory Coast. It seems that this close cooperation between Morocco and different Sub-Saharan countries could be the beginning of a new strategy to deport people back to their countries of origin; something we have seen happening already in the past, though on a smaller scale.
Developments in the Central Mediterranean
Fewer than 21,000 people have reached Italy via the Central Mediterranean route this year. According to the UNHCR, merely 884 people have successfully escaped via this route in September – this is the lowest monthly figure recorded over the last several years. The reason for this radical decrease is, of course, not a decline in the urgent need and desire of many to flee via the sea, but the ever-more drastic measures of deterrence and containment. While EU institutions and member states continue to criminalise non-governmental rescuers and support the so-called Libyan coastguards in intercepting migrant boats, the situation within Libya has deteriorated rapidly over the past weeks. With armed groups clashing in Tripoli, MSF has reported about the devastating situation for the estimated 8,000 people who are trapped in inhumane detention centres in the capital city. It has been reported that some prison guards fled the violence and left the imprisoned without food and water.
Those able to get onto a boat were regularly intercepted and abducted back to Libya. In light of such violent border spectacles, it cannot be surprising that many lives continue to be lost at sea. Largely unnoticed by the world media, not least due to the near absence of non-governmental witnesses, survivors reported of a shipwreck off the coast of Libya in early September in which an estimated 100 people drowned. Even when boats in distress were spotted, as was the case in mid- and late-September when the non-governmental reconnaissance aircraft Colibri operated by Pilotes Volontaires detected boats in distress, the Libyan authorities, considered a full-functioning coastguard by their European allies, would not swiftly intervene.
Fortunately, the Aquarius, a non-governmental SAR asset operated by SOS MEDITERRANEE and MSF was able to conduct some rescue operations in September. On the 20th of September, they rescued a small boat with 11 people on board off the coast of Libya and refused to transfer them to a Libyan patrol boat. Two days later, however, Panama announced that it would revoke Aquarius’ flag, citing Italian pressure. These attempts to de-legitimise and criminalise NGOs seek to produce a lethal rescue vacuum in the central Mediterranean Sea, so that rescues to Europe, such as the one on the 23rd of September would not take place anymore. On that day, and in its last mission for the time being, the Aquarius rescued a boat with 47 people. The Alarm Phone had received the distress call from the boat that carried a group composed of people from Libya but also elsewhere, including Syria, Algeria, South Sudan, Morocco and Palestine. We alerted the Aquarius to the situation and eventually they were able to find and rescue the people. After a few days, they were transferred to Malta.
Over the past four weeks, European attempts of criminalising solidarity have targeted not merely the NGOs. In early September, six Tunisian fishermen were arrested in Lampedusa, after they had spotted and rescued a small boat carrying 14 Tunisian nationals, whose engine had broken 20 miles off Lampedusa. Among the fishermen was Chemseddine Bourassine, a fisherman from Zarzis, who is the president of the Zarzis le Pecheur Association (ADPE) and of the Network of Small Scale Fisheries. Over the years, they have rescued hundreds of people in distress at sea. In protest of their arrest, the fishermen of Zarzis and other allies staged protests in Zarzis and Tunis, calling for their immediate release. Under such pressure and given that the accusations were plainly a farce, they were released on the 22nd of September. The charges, however, have not been dropped. These vicious attempts to criminalise rescuers need to be viewed in the context of continuous ‘Harraga’ movements from Northern Africa, including Tunisia. When 184 Tunisian nationals arrived in Lampedusa in mid-September, it sparked a rift between Italy and Malta, and in late September, Italy’s Interior Minister Salvini travelled to Tunisia to advocate the prevention of sea crossings and the repatriation of Tunisian nationals from Italy back to Tunisia.
Developments in the Aegean Sea
September was the ‘busiest’ month in the Aegean so far this year. About 4,000 people reached the Greek islands over the month – a figure that has not been reached since October 2017. With over 12,000 people arriving there this year, Lesvos Island is the place where most boats land. With a total of about 24,000 arrivals in 2018, the Aegean route is the second most frequented maritime migration route to Europe.
Deadly incidents along the Turkish-Greek Border
On the 23th of September, a boat on its way to Kos and carrying 16 people capsized near Bodrum. The Turkish coastguards were able to rescue most, but one woman died. Others were brought to a hospital. On the 29th of September, 11 people tried to cross the Evros river near Enez (Edirne Province) but their boat capsized. Four of them were able to return to Turkey, but five drowned and two others are still missing. We as the Alarm Phone were involved in this case and stayed in contact with a friend of a relatives of one of the deceased. It is still not clear whether the boat capsized in the Evros river itself or in the northern Aegean Sea. We raised the worsening conditions and the deadly incidents in the Aegean Sea and Evros river also in a meeting with Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International in Mytilene on the 4th of October, and suggested that an extended monitoring of the situation is urgently needed.
Accusations of Activists and Member of NGOs
Three of the accused humanitarian workers on Lesvos – Nassos Karakitsos, Sean Binder and Sarah Mardini – are still arrested and detained by the Greek authorities. This is of course yet another attempt to criminalise solidarity. They are asking for support by signing the Petition #FreeHumanitarians #FreeSarahSeanNassos: https://www.freehumanitarians.com/
Moria detention and hotspot camp
Moria is still a humanitarian and political disaster. More than 9,000 people are imprisoned in the camp in the worst conditions imaginable. Members of MSF have stated that they have never seen such scale of suffering and IRC has published a short report about the worsening mental health situation in Moria. Due to heavy rains on the weekend of the 22nd to 23rd of September, the situation has become even more catastrophic and gives a foretaste of what will come over the winter if the situation is not rapidly changed. The Ministry of Health has promised to transfer 3,000 people to mainland Greece. So far, according to the UNHCR, 1,182 people have been transferred to Thessaloniki but with new arrivals on the island, the situation has not improved. Currently, due to a lot of media interest in the situation in Moria, much has been reported about the inhumane conditions therein. But despite visibilising the mass suffering in the camp, little seems to change.
ALARM PHONE CASE REPORTS
Over the past 4 weeks, the WatchTheMed Alarm Phone was engaged in 61 distress cases, of which 38 took place in the Western Mediterranean, 21 in the Aegean Sea, and 2 in the Central Mediterranean. You can find short summaries and links to the individual reports below.
Western Mediterranean Sea
On Tuesday, 4th of September, we were alerted to 3 boats in the Western Mediterranean Sea. Two boats with 8 and 11 travellers from Cap Spartel were intercepted by the Moroccan Marine Royale. One boat with 55 people was most probably rescued to Spain, but we couldn’t definitely confirm its arrival (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1010 ).
On Wednesday, 5th of September, the Alarm Phone was alerted to two boats that had left from Nador towards Spain. One boat was eventually rescued by Spain, already sinking, and 6 people died, one woman and 5 men. The other boat was intercepted by the Moroccan Marine Royale and 6 men died on the journey (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1011 ).
On Thursday, 6th of September, at 6:30am CEST, we were alerted to a boat that had left from Cap Spartel at 3:30am CEST, carrying 11 people. We couldn’t establish a direct contact to the boat in order to find out their GPS position. At 11:44am we alerted Salvamento Marítimo. At 12:10 we received a GPS position of the boat that we passed to Salvamento. At 12:58am we received the confirmation that the boat was rescued to Spain (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1012 ).
On Friday, 7th of September, the Alarm Phone was alerted to 4 boats in the Western Mediterranean Sea. 3 boats were eventually intercepted by the Moroccan Marine Royale, one boat was most probably rescued to Spain (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1013 ).
On Saturday, 8th of September, we were alerted to 2 boats in the Western Mediterranean that had left from Cap Spartel. One boat was eventually rescued to Spain, the second boat was intercepted by the Moroccan Marine (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1014 ).
On Monday the 10th of September, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to three boats in distress on their way to Spain; two of the boats were intercepted by the Moroccan navy, and one of the boats made it back to Moroccan shores on its own. (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1025).
On Thursday the 13th of September, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to two boats in distress on their way to Spain; one which had left from Tangier and one which had left from around Nador. Both boats were rescued by the Spanish search and rescue organization Salvamento Maritimo (SM). (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1026).
On Friday the 14th of September, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to two boats on their way from Morocco to Spain. Both boats were brought back to Morocco by the Moroccan navy. (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1027).
On Saturday the 15th of September, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to 9 boats in the western med. However, only in one case were we able to get in touch with the travellers and intervene. In the end, all the boats we were alerted to were intercepted by the Moroccan navy and brought back to Morocco. (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1028).
On Sunday the 16th of September, at 1.19pm CEST a contact person alerted the Alarm Phone shift team to a boat with 12 people, including one woman, which had left from a beach close to Tangier at 1am local time. At 1.36pm we called the Spanish search and rescue organization Salvamento Maritimo (SM) and passed on the information we had. At 2.30pm we also called the Moroccan rescue authorities and alerted them to the boat. Only the next day at 12.21pm did we receive the news from the contact person that the boat had been intercepted and brought back to Morocco. (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1029).
On the 18th of September, the Alarm Phone was alerted to two cases, one had 9 men and the other with 44 people on board. Both boats were rescued to Spain. (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1038)
At 8.00am CEST on September 19th, 2018, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a boat of 54 people, including 12 women and 2 babies. The shift team was told that the boat had turned over, and thus travelers were in the water. At 8.30am, the shift team called the Marine Royale, who was in touch with the travelers and said that a search operation was already underway. The shift team was unable to regain contact with the boat. At 10.48am, they received confirmation that the travelers had been saved by the Marine Royale and brought back to Morocco. (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1039)
On September 20th, the Alarm Phone was alerted to two cases. In the first case, two boats were rescued to Spain, while there is no final information about the second boat. (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1040)
At 10.26am CEST on September 21st, 2018, the Alarm Phone received news of a boat of 5 people that was in difficulty and needed help. At 1.49pm, the shift team called Salvamento Maritimo, and was informed that the rescue operation was ongoing. At 8.00pm, Salvamento Maritimo told the shift team that a boat with 5 people was rescued, and two days later, the Alarm Phone received confirmation that it was the same boat. (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1041)
At 11.40am CEST on the 23rd of September 2018, the Alarm Phone was alerted to a boat of 53 people. The shift team was at first unable to correspond with the boat, but corresponded with Salvamento Maritimo for several hours. At 15.40pm, the shift team received news that the boat had been rescued and brought to Spain. (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1042)
At 2:03pm CEST on Monday the 24th of September the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a boat carrying 57 people, including 22 women and 3 children which had departed from close to Nador at 3am local time. At 4:26pm we contacted the Spanish search and rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo (SM). At 8:50pm we learned that the travellers had been rescued to Spain. (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1031)
On Saturday the 29th of September, we were alerted to a boat carrying 55 people, including 18 women which had departed from close to Bouyafar between 3am and 4am local time. At 5:10pm we provided the Spanish search and rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo (SM) with the information we had about the case who told us they would send a boat. At 10:10am on Sunday the 30th of September we received confirmation from the contact person that the boat had been rescued to Spain. (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1032)
Central Mediterranean Sea
On Friday the 14th of September, the Alarm Phone was alerted by the Tunisian Red Cross about a boat in distress carrying 15 young people. We were told that the boat was close to Lampedusa. Later we received some phone numbers for people on the boat, but were unable to make contact with any of them. At 7:40pm we informed the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (IMRCC) about the case, but they told us they needed more information before they could act and that we should also inform Malta & Tunisia. At 0:06am IMRCC told us that they had sent rescue ships to the area south of Lampedusa, as they had received information about another boat in that area. At 5:07pm we made contact with one of the numbers of the boat, and are told that the person is in Zarzis. At 6:45pm we receive further information from this person – that the boat was around 20 nautical miles from Lampedusa when an airplane came, but no Italian coastguard. After this the Tunisian military came and brought them to Zarzis ( for the full report see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1043).
On Sunday, the 23rd of September 2018, shortly after midnight, the Alarm Phone was called directly from a boat in distress off the coast of Libya. The boat had left from Zuwarah and carried 47 people, including 16 men, 15 women, and 16 children. We received their GPS position and were informed that water was entering the vessel. The boat was overcrowded and we heard people crying in the background. At 1.12am, we informed the NGO vessel Aquarius and passed on the GPS position to them. … We received their updated GPS position which we passed on to the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Rome at 5.05am. At 5.15am, the people on the boat informed us that they could see lights in the distance. At 5.32am, we received an updated GPS position clearly showing them in international waters. In our last conversation with the people they were clearly in panic and then our communications then broke off. At 6.30am, MRCC Rome informed us that they had passed the case on to the Libyan authorities, suggesting that they would carry out a Search and Rescue (SAR) operation. We tried to call the Libyan authorities but were unable to reach them. We also informed the non-governmental reconnaissance aircraft Colibri about the boat in distress who launched a search operation. Despite being ordered by the Libyan authorities to leave the SAR zone, the Aquarius crew intervened when spotting the boat in distress and rescued the people onto their boat. Once again, this was an instance of practical solidarity at sea – with the Alarm Phone being called by those on the move and us in turn alerting the non-governmental rescuers who eventually rescued the distressed despite the obstacles put in their path by Italian and Libyan authorities ( for the full report see: http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1044).
On Tuesday, 4th of September, the Alarm phone was alerted to 3 boats in the Aegean Sea. Two boats with 31 and 36 people were eventually rescued to Kos. The third boat was in distress in the south of Lesvos and was rescued by the Turkish Coast Guard (see: http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1015 ).
On Wednesday, 5th of September, the Alarm Phone was alerted to two boats in the Aegean Sea. One boat with 30 people on its way to Chios was eventually intercepted by the Turkish Coast Guard, The other boat with 35 people on board was safely rescued to Samos (see: http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1016 ).
On Thursday, 6th of September, at 11:30pm, we were alerted to a boat close to Kos island. Among the 14 people on board were 4 children. At 11:39pm we called the Greek Coast Guard in Piraeus and alerted them to the case. At 0:49am we received a rescue confirmation (see full report here: http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1017 ).
On Saturday, 8th of September, we were alerted to two boats in distress at the Aegean Sea. One boat with 30 people on board was eventually rescued to Samos. A second boat with 7 people arrived safely in Kos (see: http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1018 ).
On Sunday, 9th of September, at 5am CEST, we were alerted to a boat in distress towards Kos, carrying around 60 people. At 5:19am we called the Greek Coast Guard and alerted them to the boat. They asked us to call the Turkish Coast Guard. As the situation had been described as very urgent we also called the Turkish Coast Guard at 5:32am. We couldn’t reach the travelers the whole day. At 8:30pm we managed to reach the port authority of Kos that informed us that a boat with around 60 people had arrived at 8am in the morning (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1019 ).
On Thursday the 13th of September at 10.39pm the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted by to a boat with around 14 travellers heading towards Cyprus. At 0.08am we informed the coast guard on Cyprus about the distress of the travellers. We alerted several police stations in the Turkish part of the Northern Cyprus to the distress of the travellers. At 12.05pm we called the central number of the Turkish coast guard as well, and passed on the information we had. At 11.42pm the Turkish coast guard called us, and informed us that they had rescued the travellers, and that they were all safe. (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1021)
On Friday the 14th of September at 4.14am the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted by a contact person to a boat with around 40 travellers in distress, forwarding us the number and position of the boat. The contact person informed us that the engine had stopped working, and that water was entering the boat. At 4.51am we called the Turkish coast guard and passed on the information we had. Later, the contact person confirmed that the travellers had been rescued by the Turkish coast guard and were all safe. (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1022)
On Saturday the 15th of September at 4.40am the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted by a contact person to a boat with 61 travellers (including seven children) heading towards Chios. The contact person forwarded us the number and position of the travellers, and told us that the engine had broken down, and water was entering the boat. At 5.30am we called the Greek coast guard and passed on all the information we had. We still did not manage to reach the travellers, but at 7.16am we called back the Greek coast guard, who informed us that they had rescued the travellers, and that everyone was safe. (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1023)
On Sunday the 16th of September at 2.45am the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted by a contact person to a boat carrying 68 travellers (including 32 children) heading towards Lesvos. The contact person forwarded us the phone number and position of the travellers. At 2.57am we called the Greek coast guard and passed on the information we had. At 3.10am the contact person informed us that the travellers had been rescued, and this was shortly after confirmed by the coast guard. (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1024)
On September 22, 2018, the Alarm Phone was alerted to three cases. The first involved a boat of 53 people (29 children, 10 women, 14 men) stranded on Vatos / Ouinousses, a small island near Chios. They were picked up by the Greek coastguard and brought to Chios. The second boat was rescued in front of Farmakonisi, just as the Alarm Phone was alerted to their situation. The third boat was intercepted by the Turkish Coastguard before they reached Greek waters. (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1036)
On September 23rd at 5.51am CET, the Alarm Phone received news of a boat with 40 people asking for help. At 6.14am, the shift team contacted the boat directly and received further information, including that two people were in the water. At 6.29am, the Greek Coast Guard was contacted. Ultimately, the Alarm Phone received news that the boat reached Samos on its own. We could not figure out later on what happened with the two people who fell into the water, because the contact to the people was lost. (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1037)
At 6:08am CEST on Monday the 24th of September the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a group of 15 travellers stranded on the uninhabited island of Strongyli. We were told that boat had sunk, and they were now trapped on the island. After trying several of the phone numbers which we were provided for the group, we eventually made contact at 6:50am. We were told that they were all fine, and with the Greek coastguard who brought them to the island of Kastellorizo. (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1035)
At 3.15am CEST on Tuesday the 25th of September the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a boat carrying 60 people, including 25 children, which was in distress. At 3:25am we called the Greek coastguard and provided them with the GPS coordinates for the boat. At 4:37am the Greek coast guard told us there were two boats close to Samos and they were trying to rescue the people. We were unable to make contact again with the boat, and received no confirmation from the coast guard that this boat was rescued but we assume that it was one of the two rescued boats. (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1034)
On Monday the 29th of September the Alarm phone was alerted to two boats in distress in the Aegean Sea, one of which was rescued to Samos by the Greek coast guard. The second boat capsized – 4 people survived, 5 bodies were recovered and 2 people are still missing. (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1033)
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