Alarm Phone Alerted to 99 Distress Situations, Involving over 3,580 Individuals

Sea and Boat

Introduction

Over the past 8 weeks, September 2 to October 27, the period of time this report covers, the WatchTheMed Alarm Phone was engaged in 99 distress cases in the Mediterranean Sea, involving about 3,580 migrant travellers. Approximately 985 people did not reach Europe as they were returned to their places of departure. About 2,362 people reached Europe in Italy, Malta, Greece or Spain. The fate of over 200 people remains unknown.

Over the past 8 weeks, we have once more documented grave human rights violations at sea. Mass interception campaigns continue in the Aegean, the western Mediterranean and the central Mediterranean seas that lead to the forced return of tens of thousands of people trying to escape. Some are even intercepted from within European Search and Rescue (SAR) zones, as was the case on October 18 when 50 people were captured and abducted by the so-called Libyan coastguards within the Maltese SAR zone. Attacks on migrant boats and rescuers continue, as was the case in the Aegean on September 23, when 30 people on their way to Lesvos were assaulted by masked men at sea, and in the central Mediterranean on October 26 when migrants and the crew of Alan Kurdi were exposed to the violent behaviour of a Libyan militia. Also delays in rescues continue – in particular Malta has consciously delayed rescue proceedings repeatedly, needlessly endangering hundreds of lives.

In the Central Mediterranean Sea, the Alarm Phone was alerted to 28 emergency situations, involving about 1,729 migrant travellers. Of these 28 boats in distress, five boats with about 418 people on board were intercepted and returned to Libya – one of these boats had reached the Maltese SAR zone already. The fate of three boats with about 233 people on board is unclear. 20 boats were rescued to Europe, six of which were rescued to Malta with about 368 people on board, and 14 boats were rescued to Italy with about 710 people on board. One boat with 45 people on board reached Lampedusa independently. Eight of the 20 boats rescued to Europe were rescued by NGOs – carrying about 476 people in total. One person went missing when Sea-Eye’s crew on the Alan Kurdi tried to rescue a boat in distress but was attacked by Libyan forces. Via the Central Mediterranean route, nearly 13,000 people have reached Italy and Malta so far this year. Along this route, approximately 700 deaths were counted – but it can be said with certainty that there were many more fatalities than those recorded.

The Alarm Phone was alerted to 57 distress situations in the Aegean Sea, involving about 1,477 individuals.[1] 38 boats with approximately 920 individuals on board reached Greece while 18 boats with about 496 individuals were returned to Turkey. In one case, 61 individuals were rescued to Italy. Some of the groups that reached out to us had already reached Greek islands independently but needed further assistance. Other groups experienced human rights violations at sea, for example by being attacked by masked men who disenabled engines and abandoned the distress at sea. In one distress situation, a child died and another child went missing. Via the Aegean Sea route, about 47,000 people have reached Greece so far this year, 71 fatalities were recorded.

14 boats reached out to us from the Western Mediterranean Sea, involving about 374 people. 11 boats with about 303 people on board were rescued to Spain, four of them to the Canary Islands. Three boats with about 71 people on board were returned to Morocco. Via the Western Mediterranean route, about 22,400 people have reached Spain so far this year, and over 324 fatalities were recorded.

This report offers merely short summaries of and statistics on Alarm Phone cases – we know that it cannot mirror the thousands of individual struggles and stories that are behind these figures. Thousands of individual and collective fates are bound up with the violent European border regime that continues to force people onto dangerous sea routes and that continues to kill. We dedicate our work once more to those who lost their lives while trying to reach a place of protection and freedom. As we wrote in our Alarm Phone booklet for our five-year anniversary, “with each shift, we remove a brick from a wall and add it to a bridge.”[2]

CASE REPORTS

You can find short summaries and links to the individual Alarm Phone case reports below.

The Central Mediterranean Sea

On the 2nd of September at 3:37am CEST the alarmphone shift team was alerted to a boat in distress carrying 100 people who had left from Sabratah. The only information we were given was a GPS position and the news that water was entering the boat. We were unable to make further contact with the person who alerted us to the boat, nor were we able to contact the boat directly. At 3:45pm the contact person informed us that the travellers were taken back to Libya by the Libyan authorities. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1318

In the morning of the 7th of September we were alerted to a boat carrying 34 people who had left Al Zawiya at 2am CEST. At 1.30pm the people told us that they saw a white small airplane. In this moment the alarm phone team could countercheck with the reconnaissance plane Moonbird, which was operational in this area, what could be the position of this boat. In the late evening the alarm phone learned that a sailing boat could first rescue the people, who afterwards during the night were transferred to the rescue ship Ocean Viking. At 10:33pm CEST the alarmphone shift team was called by another boat carrying 50 people who had left from Zuwarah. It seemed as their engine wasn’t working and they asked for rescue. … At 3:25pm the next day the Ocean Viking informed the Libyan, Italian, Tunisian and Maltese authorities that they were beginning a rescue operation of the people on the boat. At 5:31pm the Ocean Viking emailed confirming the successful rescue of all 50 people. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1319

On Monday the 9th of September 2019, the Alarm Phone was called by a boat in distress off the coast of Libya, carrying about 150 people. In the initial distress call from 21.40h CEST, the caller explained that they were at risk of drowning. They had left from Al Khoms in Libya the day before. The call was interrupted. We were able to reconnect at 22.03h but unable to retrieve their GPS coordinates. After that, we were never able to reconnect to the boat. Libyan authorities were not responsive to our phone calls and messages. We do not know what happened to the 150 people. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1321

On Monday the 16th of September in the evening the Alarm Phone was alerted to a boat in distress carrying 90 travellers (including 5 women and 7 children) that had departed from Zuwarah. After receiving their GPS position, at 9.35pm CEST we informed the Maltese coastguard. Twenty minutes later the Maltese coastguard called us back and informed us that they had sent a plane to confirm the position of the boat. At 11.17 pm the NGO vessel Ocean Viking informed us that they were heading towards the boat in distress. During the following hours we kept in contact with the travellers and passed on their updated position to Maltese and Italian coastguards several times. At 04.44am we received confirmation from Maltese authorities that the boat had been rescued by the Italian coastguard. http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1324

On Wednesday the 18th of September the Alarm Phone was alerted to three boats in distress that had departed from Libya. One boat was rescued to Malta, one to Italy and one was intercepted back to Libya. http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1325

On Thursday the 19th of September at 1.47pm CEST, the Alarm Phone received a call from a boat in distress carrying 35 travellers including 6 children. The boat had departed from Libya and the GPS position that we received indicated that it was in the Maltese Search and Rescue zone. The travellers told us that their engine was no longer working. At 2.20pm we sent an email to Maltese authorities with the information we had, including our assumption that this case was the same case spotted by Moonbird. At 8.23pm our shift team called Maltese authorities asking for news. They told us that an NGO vessel was rescuing a boat in distress at the location of the last GPS position we had sent them. At 10.08pm Ocean Viking confirmed the rescue. http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1326

On Friday the 20th of September the Alarm Phone was alerted to two boats in distress; the first one carrying 88 travellers was intercepted back to Libya by the so-called Libyan Coastguard and the second boat, carrying 80 travellers was rescued after some delay by the Maltese coastguard. http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1327

On September 26, at 05:05am CEST the Alarm Phone received a distress call from a group of approx. 35 travelers, among them 8 children and 7 women, according to the person in Italian territorial waters, close to Lampedusa. We informed the Italian Coastguard and the Port Authorities of Lampedusa confirmed the rescue of a group of 40 people at 12:17pm CEST. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1344

On September 27, at 08:00pm CEST we received a distress call and GPS coordinates from a group of approx. 50-70 travelers, including women and children, who had left from Misrata, Libya. The engine had stopped working and they were drifting 60-70 km away from the Libyan shore. At 09:00pm we informed the so-called Libyan Coastguard and the Italian, Maltese and French MRCCs. From then on, we kept in touch with the travelers for two nights and communicated many times with the different actors of sea rescue in the Central Mediterranean Sea. While a rescue did not take place, the people were running out of drinking water, there were injuries, people fell unconscious and water started entering the boat. Only in the morning of the 29th we received the confirmation that the group had been brought back to Misrata by the so-called Libyan Coastguard with 2 people in critical state of health.

http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1353

On September 28, 2019 at 05:50pm CEST the Alarm Phone was alerted by a group of approx. 40 travelers who had started from Libya and had arrived very close to Lampedusa on their own. They were rescued to Lampedusa by the Italian Coastguard. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1354

On September 29, at 05:25pm CEST the Alarm Phone received a distress call from a group of 32 travelers, among them 15 women in total, 4 women with babies, 2 pregnant woman and 7 children. They had left from Zuwarah, Libya and were in the Maltese SAR-Zone now. At 05:42pm we alerted the Maltese and Italian Coastguards, but when we talked to the travelers again in the next morning at 09:15am they were still out at sea. Only in the afternoon our shift team found the information about the rescue via an online newspaper and later it was confirmed by a relative of someone from the boat. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1355

On October 2 at 14:30 CEST a boat in distress, already located in Malta SAR zone, contacted us. On board there were 60 travellers, including 2 women – one of them was pregnant, the other one with a baby. At 14:42 CEST we alerted Italian authorities which referred us to RCC Malta which we also informed. At 16:16 CEST the travellers called us again. They said the situation was critical. We informed RCC Malta about it. They refused to confirm whether a SAR operation has been launched or not. We demanded immediate action! We regularly transferred GPS positions to the competent authorities but only after midnight we learned that the 61 people reached Lampedusa nearly by their own and have been rescued by Italian coastguard. http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1329

On October 6 around 2pm CEST we got a distress call from a satellite phone but the travellers couldn‘t pass us a GPS position. They stated to have left 1am from Zuwara with 46 people on board, among them also women and 2 children. By a relative who called some minutes later we learned that they might have passed an oil platform. At 20:10 CEST we learned by Twitter that Open Arms rescued a boat in this area. We finally found out that it matched with our case. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1330

At 11:50am CEST on the 7th of October the alarmphone shiftteam received a call asking for help from a white rubber boat which had left Bengasi at 6pm the day before carrying 3 people. We were unable to get a GPS location from the travellers. At 6:10pm we contacted the Italian coastguard and gave them the Thuraya number of the boat, in the hope that they could locate the boat via this number. We did the same with the Maltese coastguard at 6:25pm. Over the next days we made repeated attempts to contact the boat. We were unable to make any further contact with the boat since 2:25pm on the 7th of October, and their Thuraya balance remained unchanged. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1356

On the 12th of October at 3:40pm CEST we were alerted by a relative to a boat in distress carrying 25 people which had left from Zuwarah at around 7am. … The next day at 5:40pm the relative confirmed that the people were safe in Lampedusa. At 4:20pm CEST we were alerted to another boat in distress from Sabratah carrying 74 men. … At 10:03pm we learned via email that Ocean Viking were beginning a rescue of a boat carrying approximately 60 people. At 12:08am (13th of October) Ocean Viking confirmed that they had rescued all 74 people. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1357

On the 13th of October at 8:32pm CEST we were was called by a wooden boat in distress carrying 40 people, most likely departed from Libya. At 21:48pm the people on the boat gave us their GPS coordinate which showed them close to Lampedusa. They said that water was entering their boat. At 10:19pm we alerted the Italian coastguard. At 1:11am the next morning (14th of October) we learned from the Italian coastguard that the travellers were ’safe’ and were to be taken to Lampedusa. At 9:46am CEST the we received a distress call from another boat carrying 102 people, among them 5 children and 16 women, three of which were pregnant. One of the pregnant women was in a critical condition. We alerted both the Italian coastguard and Ocean Viking. … At 12pm Ocean Viking confirmed that they had found the travellers and would begin the rescue. At 2:08pm we received confirmation of the successful rescue of 102 travellers by Ocean Viking. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1358

On Monday, the 14th of October, the Alarm Phone was alerted to two boats in distress in the Central Mediterranean Sea. The fate of the first boat, carrying about 80 people from Sabratah, remains unknown. The second boat, carrying 76 people from Al Khums was eventually rescued to Malta, after yet another long delay. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1365

On Friday the 18th of October 2019, in the afternoon, the Alarm Phone was contacted by an overcrowded boat in distress, carrying approximately 50 migrants. They had fled from Libya and were in the Maltese Search and Rescue (SAR) zone when they first alerted the Alarm Phone. The Alarm Phone informed RCC Malta via email and received acknowledgement of its receipt. However, afterwards we tried to call the Maltese authorities throughout the afternoon and the early evening to provide them with updated GPS positions which we had received from the boat in distress, but they could not be reached. When we finally managed to reach RCC Malta at 21.30h CEST – about seven hours after our initial call at 14.40h CEST and two hours after a call where Malta refused to give us any information – they told us that the so-called Libyan coastguard had intercepted the boat from within the Maltese SAR zone.  http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1366

On Saturday the 19th of October 2019, the Alarm Phone was alerted to a distress case off the coast of Libya. European authorities failed to react to their distress. In the end, the 45 people reached Lampedusa independently.  http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1367

On Saturday the 26th of October the Alarm Phone was alerted to two boats in distress in the central Mediterranean Sea. One group of 45 travellers were rescued by Open Arms, after Italian and Maltese authorities failed to live up to their responsibility to rescue. Out of another group of 92 travellers, 91 were rescued by the civil search and rescue vessel Alan Kurdi, whilst the fate of one traveller remains unclear. http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1369

The Western Mediterranean Sea

On the 2nd of September 2019 at 2:40pm CEST the Alarmphone shift team was alerted to a boat  carrying 6 men who had left from Achakar, Morocco. We made contact with the boat and received a voice message from the people asking for rescue. We alerted the Spanish search and rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo (SM). We also alerted the Moroccan search and rescue centre as they were in Moroccan waters and urgently asking for rescue.At 11:43pm the Moroccan Navy contacted us to confirm that they had rescued 6 Sub-saharan men at 8:35pm local time at the last position we provided them, but had returned them to Morocco. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1305

On Thursday the 12th of September 2019, the Alarm Phone was alerted at 18h CEST to a boat in distress in the western Mediterranean Sea, carrying 28 people. They had left from Nador during the night and needed help. We informed the Spanish search and rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo (SM) at 18.56h. At 19.45h, a relative of the migrant travellers called us and informed us that the boat had been rescued by SM. http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1314

On Saturday the 14th of September 2019, the Alarm Phone was alerted at 19.10h CEST to a boat in distress. It had left from the west coast of Morocco and was trying to reach the Canary Islands in Spain. There were 20 people on board, including 6 women and an infant. Over the next hours, we tried to reach the travellers directly but could not get through. At 22.30h, we informed the Spanish search and rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo (SM). … At 16.35h, SM Las Palmas stated that they would need another few hours to reach the boat. At 20.34h, SM confirmed to us that the rescue took place around 18h. There were 19 people on board, as well as an infant. http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1315

On September 23, at 05:30pm CEST we were alerted to a group of 62 travelers in distress who had started from Morocco 12 hours ago. We informed the Spanish Coastguard who stated not to take the responsibility for this case. Therefore, we communicated with the Moroccan Authorities in Rabat and Nador and at 10:08pm we found out that the Moroccan Coastguard had rescued the group. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1342

On September 28, at 05:14am CEST the Alarm Phone was alerted about a group of 18 travelers by a relative that had lost contact to them. We informed the Spanish Coastguard who referred us to the Moroccan Coastguard who referred us to the Spanish Coastguard in Almería again. They stated to search for the boat and at 08:55am confirmed a rescue of a group of travelers. Meanwhile we had received a phone number from the boat and comparing the phone number, number of people and color and type of the boat and direction of travel, we assumed this was the missed group. They were brought to Motril, Spain. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1343

On 30 September, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to two boats having left from around Tangier. One boat with 8 people on board was rescued by Salvamento Maritimo and brought to Spain. The other boat with 3 persons was intercepted by the Moroccan Navy and brought back to Morocco. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1322

On 5 October, the Alarm Phone was alerted to a boat that had left from Bouyafar with 62 people on board. They were rescued by Salvamento Maritimo and brought to Motril. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1323

On Thursday, the 17th of October 2019, the Alarm Phone was alerted to two boats in distress in the western Mediterranean Sea. The first boat carrying 4 people was rescued to Spain. The second boat with 32 people on board, after going missing for 4 days, was eventually also rescued to the Spanish Canary Islands. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1368

On Friday the 25th of October at 3.24pm CET the Alarm Phone was alerted to a group of 63 travellers, including seven women, who had left from a beach close to Nador. The travellers had left at 6am local time, and the relative had lost contact to them around two hours later. We were also not able to reach the travellers, and at 4.27pm we alerted the Spanish search and rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo (SM). We called SM several times, but only at 9.11pm did they confirm to us that they had rescued a boat corresponding to our description. http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1370

On Saturday the 26th of October the Alarm Phone was alerted to two groups of travellers, one consisting of 32 travellers including 14 women and four children, and one of 24 people including three women and two children. Both boats had left from Dakhla and were heading towards the Canary Islands. In the end they were both rescued by the Spanish search and rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo (SM) after very long time at sea, and brought to the Canary islands. http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1371

On Sunday the 27th of October at 0.35am CET the Alarm Phone was alerted to a group of 12 travellers who had left from west of Al Hoceima in a wooden boat, heading in direction of Motril. The relative had last had contact to the boat the previous day at 11am. At 1.14am we informed the Spanish rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo (SM) about the boat. At 9.27am the relative told us that the travellers had been rescued, but it was still unclear if they had been taken to Morocco or Spain. SM could not give us information about this, so we called the Guardia Civil who told us that the travellers were in the reception centre in Almeria. http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1372

The Aegean Sea

On the 2nd of September 2019 our shiftteam got alerted to one or two boats on their way to Chios with 15 travellers. There were two alerts nearly at the same time (4:47am and 5:00am CEST) with the same number of travellers. With one group direct contact was possible, their engine had stopped short before the borderline and they asked urgently for rescue. At 6.23am the Turkish coastguard confirm the rescue of one boat, but the second boat was still moving, so they didn’t need rescue. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1306

On the 7th of September at 11:40am CEST the Alarmphone shiftteam was alerted to a boat with 14 travellers very close to the island of Rhodes. Shortly afterwards the Greek coastguard was alerted and informed us that the boat in question (but with 15 travellers instead of 14) had just been rescued by them. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1307

On the 8th of September at 5:34am CEST the Alarmphone shiftteam was alerted to a group of 30 travellers stranded on Oinousses, north-east of Chios. At 6:11am we alerted the Greek coastguard. At 8:20am the Greek authorities confirmed the rescue of the first group of 21 travellers. At 1pm all travellers arrived safely on Chios. At 5:34am the shift team was alerted to a second group of 30 people who were stranded on Oinousses island, north east of Chios. At 6:11am we contacted the Greek coastguard in Pireus and informed them of the case. At 1pm we learned that all the people had been rescued to Chios. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1308

On Monday the 9th of September 2019, the Alarm Phone was alerted by a relative at 10.25pm CEST to a boat in distress in the Aegean Sea, on its way to Lesvos. It carried 32 people, including 15 children. We informed the Greek coastguards at 10.41pm about this distress situation. At 11:40pm the Greek coastguards called us back to confirm the rescue of the boat. http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1309

On Wednesday the 11th of September 2019, the Alarm Phone was alerted at 7.31am CEST to a boat in distress, carrying 7 people. According to the contact person who informed us, the boat was broken and unable to move. They were still in Turkish waters, close to Akyarlar. At 7.43am we alerted the Turkish coastguards and shortly after they carried out a rescue operation. The people confirmed that they were fine. http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1310

On Thursday the 12th of September 2019, the Alarm Phone was alerted to three boats in distress in the Aegean Sea. The first boat with 40 people on board was rescued to Kos/Greece. The engine of the second boat with 41 people on board broke down and they were returned to Turkey. The third boat with 33 people landed independently on Simi/Greece.

http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1311

On Saturday the 14th of September 2019, the Alarm Phone was alerted to two boats in distress. The first one with 35 people on board stranded on Symi/Greece. The second one with 61 people on board rescued to Italy. http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1312

On Sunday the 15th of September 2019, the Alarm Phone was alerted to two boats in distress in the Aegean region. The first group of 34 people stranded on Symi Island and needed help. The second group of about 30 people was in distress at sea near Symi Island and was later rescued to Greece. http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1313

On Tuesday the 17th of September we were alerted to two boats in distress; the first boat was rescued by the Turkish Coastguard and the second boat landed on the North of Lesvos. http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1316

On Wednesday the 18th of September the Alarm Phone was alerted to two distress cases; the first one involved a group of 3 young travellers stranded on the Greek-Macedonian border, who were rescued by the Greek police, and the second case involved a group of 11 travellers stranded on Kalolimnos island who were rescued by the Greek Coastguard. http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1317

On Thursday the 19th of September in the night the Alarm Phone was alerted to a boat in distress heading towards Mitilini carrying 35 travellers. Around 2am CEST our shift team established contact with the travellers who informed that the engine was no longer working. At 2.11 am we recived their GPS location which we passed on to the Greek Coastguards. We were no longer able to establish contact with the travellers but at 8.13am the following morning the Greek Coastguard confirmed that the boat had been rescued. http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1328

On September 23, at 3:33am CEST our shift team was alerted to a group of around 30 travelers, among them 7 pregnant women, 3 old women, 13 children, in distress in the south of Lesvos. They were drifting close to the Turkish-Greek border in Turkish waters after they had been attacked by another boat and their engine had intentionally been destroyed by masked persons. Then the travelers reported that a vessel, most probably belonging to the Greek Coastguard, stopped in a distance and observed them. We alerted the Turkish Coastguard and at 4:53am they arrived on the position we had provided to them, the other boat, presumably of the Greek coastguard disappeared. When we spoke to the travelers again, they were back in Turkey and still with the Turkish police. They reported that the attackers had taken away the phone of one person who had taken photos of the attack and had beaten him. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1336

On September 24, the Alarm Phone worked on four cases: At 03:23am CEST we received the first alert from a group of 14 travelers, among them 4 children, according to the people. They were in distress in Turkish territorial waters, so we informed the Turkish Coastguard who conducted the rescue and brought them back to Turkey. At 04:48am CEST we received the second alert from a boat close to Lesvos in Greek waters. We informed the Greek Coastguard and the travelers were rescued to Greece. At 06:51pm CEST we received the third alert from a group of 15 people, among them 2 children, according to the travelers. They were stuck on the east coast of Symi Island. We informed the Coastguard of the Island who confirmed the rescue of 12 adults and 1 child. The fourth alert came from a boat on its way towards Samos Island in Turkish territorial waters at 09:46pm CEST. There were 45-50 people, among them 25 children in distress. We informed the Turkish Coastguard who was already aware of the case and confirmed the rescue at 10:51pm. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1337

On September 25, the Alarm Phone was alerted in two cases of distress in the Aegean Sea. The first alarm reached us at 10:05am CEST from two women swimming in Greek territorial waters north of Nimos Island. We alerted the Greek Coastguard and at 11:20am the rescue was confirmed by the husband of one of the women. The second alert came in at 10:21pm from a boat close to Symi Island carrying 30 people, among them 15 children. They were rescued by the Greek Coastguard. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1338

On September 27, the Alarm Phone worked on 3 cases in the Aegean Sea. The first alarm reached us at 05:46am CEST from a group of 30 travelers stranded on Farmakonisi Island. They were rescued and brought to Leros Island. The second case came in at 06:01pm CEST from 14 travelers in distress close to Chios Island. We informed the Greek Coastguard who confirmed the rescue of 7 people with the same phone number at 07:19pm. The third group of travelers alerted us at 07:46pm CEST from a situation of distress in Turkish waters north of Kos Island. We informed the Turkish Coastguard and at 08:29pm the travelers confirmed their rescue. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1339

On September, 28, the Alarm Phone worked on 3 cases in the Aegean Sea: The first alarm reached us at 00:36am CEST from 40 travelers drifting between Turkey and Greece south of Lesvos. They were picked up by the Turkish Coastguard and taken back to Turkey. The second case was almost at the same location, with 30 people in distress, among them many women and children, according to the people. The Turkish Coastguard took care of the case. The third case came in at 09:00pm CEST from a boat heading towards to Mytilene. We informed the Greek Coastguard but one hour later the travelers landed on the island on their own. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1340

On September 29, at 10:30pm CEST we were alerted to a group of 50 travelers in distress in Turkish territorial waters, with a broken engine and high waves. We informed the Turkish Coastguard and the people were rescued and taken to prison in Turkey. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1341

On 30 September a group of approximately 40 people – among them more than five children and one pregnant woman – stranded on the island of Farmakonisi. At 2:43am CEST we alerted Greek authorities and at 3:42am the travellers confirmed the evacuation from Farmakonisi. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1331

On 1 October at 5:54am CEST in the morning we received a location of a boat with 27 travellers, close the island of Farmakonisi. When we alerted the Greek coastguard at 6:06am they stated they had spotted the boat, but at a GPS location that would be in Turkish waters. They insisted that the position – in Greek waters – which we had provided to them was wrong. Later on, the Turkish coastguard confirmed the rescue. We still have doubts on how the boat that was in Greek waters already moved back to Turkish waters. We are doubtful even more because of two similar cases that happened on 23 and 28 September when travellers reported that they had been attacked and their engines had been stolen or destroyed. Unfortunately, we couldn’t yet get back in touch with the travellers to find out what had happened exactly. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1332

On 2 October we were alerted to a boat in distress very close to the borderline next to Chios. The six travellers, including one woman, urged our team to call the Greek coastguard, who stated at 7:34pm CEST not to be responsible, because the boat was a few meters in Turkish territorial waters. Shortly after we informed the Turkish coastguard as well and at 9:30pm we received the confirmation that the travellers had been found and rescued by the Turkish coastguard. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1333

On 3 October we were alerted to two cases in the Aegean: In the morning our shiftteam was alerted to a boat in distress west of Samothraki. At 7:22am CEST we alerted the Greek coastguard who had been alerted already by relatives of the travellers. They stated that they had just detected the boat and asked us to inform the relatives about this new development. At 8:30am the port authorities of Samothraki confirmed the arrival of the travellers in the port. Later that day we were alerted to a group of six people – among the two women, one of them pregnant – who had been stranded on Symi island. We alerted the coastguard in Symi at 1:45pm CEST who finally confirmed the rescue at 4:55pm. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1334

On 5 October we were alerted to a group of 28 travellers – among them eight children, one of them a new-born of 10 days – who had stranded on Farmakonisi. At 11:17pm CEST we alerted the Greek coastguard. They later said that the group had stranded on a place that was difficult to access and could only be reached in daylight. At 11:34am of the next morning the travellers confirmed that they had been picked up. We later learned that at least four boats had arrived during that night on Farmakonisi. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1335

On the 7th of October at 11:44pm CEST our shiftteam was alerted to a group of around 24 travellers, among them 10 children, on Oinousses. They were very cold. We alerted the Greek Coastguard at 11:56pm. It was raining heavily and the authorities were unable to go to the place during dark, so the travellers had to wait there all night. At 7:41am the next morning the Greek coastguard confirmed that they had picked up the travellers. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1346

At 6:07am CEST on the 8th of October the Alarm Phone shiftteam was alerted to a group of people stranded in the north of Lesvos. Despite several attempts we were unable to get a location or even direct communication with the group. At 7:30am CEST we learned that the boat had landed safely in the North of Lesvos and all the travellers were fine. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1347

On the 9th of October at 8:15am CEST the Alarm Phone shiftteam was alerted to a group of 14 travellers and 4 children who were stranded on Nimos. At 8:30am we alerted the Greek coastguard on Symi. At 9:23am a patrol boat found the stranded travellers and would return to rescue them. We received confirmation of rescue at 3:27pm from the coastguard. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1348

On the 10th of October at 2am CEST the Alarm Phone shiftteam were alerted to a group of 7 people stranded on Chios. The group had difficulty moving, and one woman had a serious leg injury. At 2:31am we alerted the Greek coastguard in Pireaus. At 3:33am the group reported that they could see the Greek coastguard approaching. At 6:19am we received confirmation from the group that the police had arrived to take them. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1349

On the 11th of October at 2:52am CEST the Alarm Phone shiftteam was alerted to a group of 19 travellers who were stranded on Kos. At 3:09am we alerted the Greek authorities in Piraeus who said they would send a boat. At 4:28am the coastguard found the group. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1350

On the 12th of October at 11:25pm CEST the Alarm Phone shiftteam was alerted to a group of 8 travellers who were stranded on Nimos. We alerted the Greek coastguard who, at 7:38am, confirmed that they had found the people and transferred them to Symi. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1351

On the 13th of October at 11:20pm CEST the Alarm Phone shiftteam was alerted to a wooden boat in distress carrying 67 people (including children) south of Farmakonisi. At 11:45pm we alerted the Greek coastguard. At 12:23am (the 14th of October) the people on the boat informed us of their rescue, which the Greek coastguard also confirmed, saying that they would be taken to Farmakonisi. They were later transferred to Leros. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1352

On Monday the 14th of October 2019, the Alarm Phone was alerted to two groups in distress. A boat was in distress in Turkish waters east of Lesvos. 33 people were later rescued, but 1 child died and 1 child went missing. Moreover, two men swam to Kos in Greece. http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1359

On Wednesday, 16 October 2019, 13 13.03h CEST, the Alarm Phone was alerted by 2 people stranded on Nimos Island after their arrival by jet-ski. At 13.17h we informed the port police on Symi. They had been informed already about the case, but noted down the location we had of the two people. Eventually, the 2 people reached Symi Island. http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1360

On Thursday the 17th of October 2019, the Alarm Phone was alerted to two distress situations in the Aegean Sea. A boat with 40 people on board was returned to Turkey by the Turkish coastguards. A group of 16 people had landed their boat on Nimos Island and needed support. http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1361

On Friday the 18th of October 2019, the Alarm Phone was alerted at 20h CEST by a relative to a boat moving from Turkey to Samothraki. We only received limited information, including that there were about 28-30 people on board. We could not reach the travellers. The relative called the Greek coastguard but they had no information on this boat. At 3.45am, we decided to also inform the Greek coastguard, although we did not have a precise location. At 6.00am, the relative confirmed that her brother had safely arrived on Samothraki. http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1362

On Saturday the 19th of October 2019, the Alarm Phone was alerted to a boat in distress by a relative, at 5am CEST. 23 people had reached Symi Island in Greece and needed support. We informed the coastguard on Symi at 5.40am who confirmed at 8.20am that all travellers were found and safe. http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1363

On Sunday the 20th of October 2019, the Alarm Phone was alerted at noon to two migrant travellers who had just stranded on Nimos Island in Greece. We shortly after informed the Greek coastguard. One of the two people fell unconscious after talking about pain in his chest. At 14.43h, the Greek authorities confirmed that they had found the distressed and would transfer them to another island. http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1364

In the morning of Monday the 21st of October the Alarm Phone was alerted to a boat carrying approximately 60 travellers including 20 children. We informed the Greek coastguard and soon after, at the 7.07am CEST, our shift team received the information that the travellers had arrived on land on Samos but still needed help. After some delay due to difficulties in approaching the coast where the travellers were stranded, at 1.25pm the Greek coastguard informed us that the travellers had been rescued, however we did not obtain final confirmation from the travellers themselves as they were no longer reachable. http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1373

In the evening of Thursday the 24th of October the Alarm Phone was alerted to a boat in distress. carrying 30 travellers, of which 13 children. At 9.14pm CEST we received from the travellers their GPS position which we immediately passed on to the Turkish coastguard. After having lost contact with the boat, we were informed later in the evening that the travellers had reached the coast by themselves after their boat had crashed and that they had been rescued from land by Turkish police. http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1374

Early in the morning of Friday the 25th of October the Alarm Phone was alerted to a boat in distress carrying 35 travellers.  Reportedly, the boat had lost its engine and was close to the Turkish coast near Yalikavak. Around 5.30 am CEST we managed to establish contact with the travellers who informed us that they had already alerted the Turkish coastguard. At 5.41 am we contacted the Turkish coastguard ourselves to pass on the most recent GPS location. At 6.32 am the travellers confirmed that they had been rescued. http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1375

On Sunday the 27th of October the Alarm Phone was alerted to two boats in distress in the Aegean sea. The first boat, carrying 34 travellers,  arrived independently safely to Symi. The second boat was rescued by the Greek coastguard near Syrna and the 60 travellers were brought to Kos. http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1376

 

Footnotes:

[1] In two emergency situations the numbers of passengers were unknown, and so they are not included in this statistic.

[2] https://alarmphone.org/en/publications/anniversary-booklets/

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