Alarm Phone in Contact with 3,184 People in 95 Distress Situations

Introduction

Over the past 8 weeks, October 28 to December 22, the period of time this report covers, the WatchTheMed Alarm Phone was engaged in 95 distress cases in the Mediterranean Sea, involving about 3,184 migrant travellers. Approximately 1,303 people did not reach Europe as they were returned to their places of departure, capsized, or went missing. About 1,869 people reached Europe in Italy, Malta, Greece or Spain. 1 group that alerted us crossed from Bosnia to Croatia. Over the past 8 weeks, we have once more documented how people died or went missing in the Mediterranean, how Europe and its allies engaged in grave human rights violations at sea, such as push/pull back operations in the central and eastern Mediterranean, or delayed rescue operations.

The Alarm Phone was alerted to 60 distress situations in the Aegean Sea, involving more than 1,347 individuals – in several cases the number of persons in distress was not known. 38 boats with over 834 individuals on board reached Greece while 22 boats with over 513 individuals were returned to Turkey. In one case, a group alerted us between the Bosnia and Croatia border. 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 them at sea. We fear that at least five cases involved push/pull back practices. Via the Aegean Sea route, about 59,500 people have reached Greece in 2019.

In the Central Mediterranean Sea, the Alarm Phone was alerted to 19 emergency situations, involving about 1,269 migrant travellers. Of these 19 boats in distress, 13 boats with about 786 people on board were rescued to Europe – 9 boats were rescued by members of the civil fleet, 3 were rescued by the Maltese authorities, and 1 by a commercial vessel. 3 boats with about 219 people on board were forcibly returned to Libya by its so-called coastguards. 3 boats with 264 people on board capsized or went missing. One of these boats was found by fishermen who rescued 30 people but state that about 70 people lost their lives. Thus we fear that 234 people may have lost their lives. Once more, we have documented European involvement via aerial assets in returning hundreds of people back to the Libyan warzone as well as serious delays in carrying out rescue operations, even within European Search and Rescue zones. Via the Central Mediterranean route, about 14,500 people have reached Italy and Malta in 2019. Along this route, approximately 743 deaths were counted – but it can be said with certainty that there were many more fatalities as, for example, several of the missing boats we documented are not found in official statistics.

16 boats reached out to us from the Western Mediterranean Sea, involving about 568 people. 9 boats with about 249 people on board were rescued to Spain. Remarkably, 7 of these boats rescued to Spain were travelling along the Atlantic route toward the Canary Islands. 6 boats with about 246 people on board were returned to Morocco by the Moroccan Navy or they returned independently. 1 boat with 73 people went missing and we fear that these lives were lost. Another boat, carrying 91 people capsized, leaving 7 people dead. Via the Western Mediterranean Sea route, about 25,300 people have reached Spain so far this year, and 432 fatalities were recorded – again we know that this is not the real death toll in this border region.

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.

Case Summaries

Aegean Sea

On 28 October 2019, shortly before midnight the Alarm Phone was alerted to a sinking boat with 35 travelers near Bodrum, Turkey. Some people were already in the water, screaming for help. At 11:28pm CET we informed the Turkish coastguard who confirmed the rescue of all travelers at 00:28am CET. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1382

On 29 October 2019, the Alarm Phone was alerted to three situations of distress:

The first alert came in at 02:11am CET from a boat carrying 30 travelers. Their engine had stopped, and they were trying to row with their hands towards Lesvos. We called the Greek coastguard who stated that the position was in Turkish waters. The travelers were finally brought back to Turkey.

The second alert came in at 05:57am CET from a speedboat on its way towards Kos island, carrying eight travelers. At 7:24CET the Turkish coastguard confirmed their rescue.

The third call reached us at 07:25pm CET from 14 people on a sinking boat south of Bodrum, Turkey. The people had already alerted the Turkish coastguard and their rescue was confirmed at 07:40pm. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1383

On 30 October 2019, the Alarm Phone was alerted to four situations of distress:

The first alert came in at 00:56am CET informing the Alarm Phone about two travelers swimming towards Kos island. Their rescue by the Greek coastguard was confirmed at 01:53am, probably they were brought to Kos.

The second alert came in at 06:50am from a boat at the western shore of Samos. We could not re-establish the contact and the possible rescue of the travelers to Kos or Samos was confirmed by the Greek coastguard at 08:20am.

The third call reached us at 06:55am from Turkish water close to Chios island. Shortly after this, we received the information that the travelers had been returned to Turkey by the Turkish Coastguard.

The fourth alert reached the Alarm Phone at 08:20am via a person whose family was in distress in Greek waters close to Samothraki island. Finally, the travelers were returned to Turkey and it remains to be investigated if it was a push-back/pull-back. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1384

On 31 October 2019, the Alarm Phone was alerted to two situations of distress:

The first alert came in at 02:30am CET from 30 travelers in Turkish water via a relative. We informed the Turkish coastguard who could not find the people, and at 09:41am we learned from the Greek coastguard that they had rescued a boat with 36 travelers in the area and brought the people to Kos.

The second alert reached us at 08:50pm from a group of 35 travelers in a boat taking in water. They were also in Turkish waters south of Bodrum / Muğla. We informed the Turkish coastguard who confirmed the rescue of all people at 10:24pm. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1385

On 1 November 2019, the Alarm Phone was alerted to four situations of distress in the Aegean Sea:

The first alert came in at 01:02am CET from a group of 25 travelers close to the shore of Lesvos. We informed the Greek coastguard and the travelers confirmed their safe landing at 01:47am.

The second distress call reached us at 02:13am. After some communication difficulties and the help of an Arabic translator we informed the Turkish coastguard at 02:43am and they confirmed the rescue of 30-40 people at 03:29am.

The third alert reached us at 05:00am from 50 travelers north-west of Lesvos who finally made the landing on their own.

The fourth call at 10:07pm came from a family member who informed us about their cousin being in distress near Kos. A few minutes later he informed us that they had been intercepted to Turkey from a position that was in Greek waters. We are still investigating this case. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1386

On 3 November at 6:15am CET, our shift team was called by a group of about 30 travelers, among them 11 women and seven children, near the island of Samothraki. At 6:24h the Greek coastguard was informed and at 11:36h the port authority of Samothraki confirmed the rescue of 31 travelers. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1387

On 5 November around noon our shift team was alerted to a group of 33 travellers, among them 6 women and a toddler who had stranded on Nimos island. They were wet from the landing and one man was injured. At 12:26h CET we informed the Greek coastguard and at 14:20h the people confirmed the arrival of the Greek coastguard, who shortly after confirmed the transfer of the group to Symi. http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1379

On 6 November at 16:06h CET, our shift team was alerted to two people who had stranded in the north of Nimos island. One of them was in a critical condition and had fallen unconscious. Our team alerted the Greek coastguard and at 19:08h the travellers confirmed to be safe. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1380

On 7 November our shift team was alerted to four different groups who fled from Turkey to Greece.

In the early morning, we were alerted by a big group of people who had crossed the land border and were on a road near Didimoteicho in Greece. At 7:25h CET we informed the police – as well as the UNHCR and various other NGOs in “cc” – about this group and their wish to seek asylum to avoid a push-back of this group. We could not get a confirmation on their whereabouts until now, as we lost contact to the group.

In the afternoon, we received an alert to a group of 4 adults and 3 children stranded on Symi island. Only a few minutes later they said that they had been found by the authorities and wouldn’t need any further help.

At 22:43h CET our shift team was alerted to a boat in distress, still in Turkish waters on its way to Kos. 35 people, among them six women and two children were confirmed to be rescued by Turkish coastguard at 00:43h.

At 22:54h CET the fourth alert came in from a group of five adults and four children – among them one pregnant woman – who had stranded on Kastellorizo. At 13:20h of the next day the port police in Kastellorizo confirmed that they had found the group. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1381

On 8 November, we got a call from a pregnant woman who was walking with her family – three adults and two children – in Croatia close to the Bosnian border. She had bloody wounds on her feet and was unable to continue walking but was afraid to call an ambulance as the police could come again to push them back. We alerted an ambulance, the police and in parallel the ombudsman and an NGO in Croatia to make visible to the authorities that the rights of the family should be respected. In the night the contact to the people could be reestablished and they confirmed to be safe and in a refugee camp in Zagreb. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1390

On 9 November, our shift team was alerted to an elderly woman with a boy who had lost the group they were travelling with, because they were unable to walk on. They were near a mosque in the village of Mega Dereio in the Evros region in Greece, already 32 km from the Turkish-Greek border. At 16:40h CET we informed various authorities plus NGOs in Greece. The two travellers had already contacted the local police as well. During the evening we reached out to various authorities in the region. The next day at 14:11h our team learned that the woman and the child were back in Turkey. We are still investigating how this push-back took place. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1391

On 10 November, in the morning our shift team was alerted to a group stranded on Kastellorizo. At 9:15h CET we informed the Greek coastguard and the local port police. At 10:33h they confirmed they had found six adults and one child. http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1393

On 11th of November, the Alarm Phone was alerted to two situations in the Aegean Sea. The first alert came in at 9:30am CET from a group of 30 travellers close to the island of Chios. We informed the Greek coastguard about the boat in distress immediately. A few minutes later the travellers reported that they had been attacked by a boat and pushed towards Turkey.
The second distress call reached us at 11:37am. We alerted the Turkish coastguard and the safe rescue of 44 people was confirmed at 1:47am. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1388

On Tuesday 12 November at 4:49am CET, the Alarm Phone was alerted by friends of travellers to a boat with 40 people in distress. The GPS location of the boat was south of the island Lesvos in Turkish waters. After difficulties with communication with the travellers, at 5:22am we were informed that the Turkish coastguard had found the boat and that they would be returned to Turkey. After many attempts, we got a confirmation from the travellers themselves that they are back in Turkey. http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1392

On 13 November, the Alarm Phone was alerted to two situations in the Aegean Sea near Lesvos. The first group of 30 travellers were rescued by the Greek coastguard and brought to Lesvos. The second group of eight travellers were brought back to Turkey. http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1428

On 14 November, at 00:08am CET the Alarm Phone was alerted by friends of 30 travellers, including 10 children and 15 women who had arrived at north-east of Samos. As soon as the Alarm Phone received their position the local authorities were informed. At 7:26am the Alarm Phone received a new location from the travellers and passed it on to the authorities. At 9:12am the Alarm Phone received a confirmation from the travelers that they had been rescued. At 4:36pm the local port authority confirmed that the people were safe. http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1402

On Friday 15 November, at 09:23 am CET our shift team was alerted to a boat in distress near Karfas, east of Chios. At 09:35 am the people on the boat, among which were children as well, sent us their position which showed that they were in Greek waters. We therefore called the Greek coastguard at 09:45 am to inform them about the distress case. At 10:26 am the travelers reported their rescue which was confirmed when we called the Greek coastguard at 10:36 am. http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1395

On the 16 November our shift team was alerted to two boats in the Aegean Sea. One boat carrying 24 travellers, including 10 children, was rescued to Lesvos after their engine had stopped working. The other boat, carrying 40 travellers including 20 children, was attacked around 5km away from the southern shore of Lesvos. After a failed attempt to push back the boat, the travellers were eventually brought to Greece. http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1396

On 19 November 2019, our shift teams were alerted to three different cases in the Aegean Sea.

In the first we were informed at 08:17h CET by a relative of someone on board of a boat of 16 people in severe distress near to Mytilene/Lesvos. We informed the Greek Coastguard. The Greek CG called us at 09:08h to confirm the rescue. The travellers were taken to Lesvos.

In the second alert the Alarm Phone was called at 10:55h CET by a relative of somebody on board a boat in distress 5km from Samothraki. We alerted the Greek CG who launched a rescue. At 13:08h the Greek CG confirmed the rescue of 30 people from that position.

In the last a worried relative contacted us at 21:30h CET for information about a boat of six or seven people who had gone missing near Kos about an hour previously. We contacted the Greek CG who informed us that they had rescued a boat of six travellers who had all been taken to a hotspot. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1399

On 20 November 2019 at 11:34h CET, the Alarm Phone was informed about a boat on its way to the Greek island Samothraki. We were told that there were 33 people on the boat and that it was in need of urgent rescue. At 11:40h we spoke directly to the travellers who told us that water was entering their boat. They sent us their position, which was in Greek waters, and we forwarded this information to the Greek Coastguard (CG). We were unable to make further contact with the travellers but later that evening the relative informed us that the travellers had been rescued by the Greek CG at 12:30h and were all safe. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1426

On 21 November 2019 at 22:41h CET, the Alarm Phone was informed about a boat on its way to Chios adrift in Turkish waters. We were told that water was entering the boat and the engine was broken. We immediately alerted the Turkish Coastguard (CG). At 08:45h the next morning we received confirmation from the Turkish CG that at 04:15h that morning they had rescued a boat with 54 travellers (13 men, 11 women, and 30 children) from the location we had given and returned them to Turkey. We learned that on board were 35 people from Syria, 7 from Afghanistan, 5 from Palestine, 5 from Kuwait, and 2 from Yemen. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1427

On 23 November 2019, the Alarm Phone was informed of two different distress cases in the Aegean region.

In the first, we were contacted at 00:26h CET by a relative of somebody on board a boat travelling from Turkey to Lesvos. We were given the phone number of a person on board and a position of the boat in Greek waters. Shortly after the conversation, we had direct contact with the travellers, but they had been intercepted by the Turkish Coastguard and pulled back to Turkey. We later found a report from the Turkish government announcing the interception of a boat of 34 people (12 men, 10 women and 12 children) from Afghanistan.

The second saw us informed at 08:40h informed of a group of 33 people, including 20 women and 6 children, stranded on Kalolimnos. Five minutes later we made contact with someone from the group. We informed the Greek Coastguard who told us that they were already looking for the people. At 12:22h we were given confirmation by the Greek CG in Piraeus that the group had been rescued, but we were not given a final destination. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1429

On 24 November 2019 at 23:23h CET, the Alarm Phone was called by a traveller on a boat adrift and in distress in Turkish waters. The boat was on route to Lesvos when its engine stopped near to Ayvalik. There were 40 passengers on board who reported bad weather conditions and high waves. We immediately informed the Turkish Coastguard (CG) at 23:33h. At 00:02h the Turkish CG confirmed that they had rescued 15 women, 14 men, and 11 children. We spoke to the travellers at 07:36h on 25 November who confirmed they were on land in Turkey. We later learnt that the travellers were 14 people from Syria, 12 from Palestine, 8 from Somalia, and 6 from Eritrea. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1430

On Tuesday 26 November at 9.35pm CET, our shift team was alerted to a group of 47 travellers, including 15 children, who were stranded on Samos island near Kasonisi. We immediately alerted relevant authorities, who confirmed that they would go and rescue the travelers. At 10.03pm the travellers told us that the police had found them. In a separate call to the Greek coast guard, they confirmed that the travellers would be brought to safety. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1423

On Wednesday 27 November, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to two boats in the Aegean sea. The first boat, carrying 25 travellers was rescued to Chios, whilst the second boat, carrying 30 travellers, was rescued to Samos. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1424

On Thursday 28 November, at 10.04pm we were contacted by a relative alerting us to a boat with only one person. The boat was drifting close to the Turkish coast and waves were high. We only managed to reach the traveller briefly, but then the connection was cut off and we never managed to reestablish the connection. At 10.41pm we called the Turkish coast guard and passed on the information we had. At 11.17pm the Turkish coast guard confirmed that they had carried out the rescue operation and brought the traveller to Bodrum. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1425

On Saturday 7 December, the Alarm phone was alerted to two distress cases in the Aegean sea. One boat was heading towards Samothraki, Greece. Although we did not establish direct contact with the travellers and we were not able to retrieve enough information as to alert the authorities, the following day we were informed that the travellers had safely arrived to Samothraki. In the evening we were alerted to two travellers on jet-skies heading towards Kalolymnos, Greece. We alerted the coastguard and the rescue was confirmed later in the night. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1406

On Sunday 8 December at 11.44 CET, the Alarm phone was alerted to a boat in distress near Chios but still in Turkish waters. The boat was carrying 7 travellers, the engine had stopped and water was entering the boat. The travellers had already alerted the Turkish Coastguard themselves. Before we could contact the Turkish coastguard the travellers confirmed that they had already been rescued and brought back to Turkey. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1411

On 9 December 00:33h CET, our shift team was alerted to a boat with 5 people short before landing near Katia in the south of Lesvos. At 1:06h the Greek coastguard confirmed to be near the boat and at 2:14h the rescue was completed. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1405

On 12 December, our shift team was alerted to three different cases in the Aegean Sea:

In the first alert a group of about 45 travellers was stranded on Oinousses island. At 1:52am CET we informed Chios port authority. At 2:50am the Greek coastguard confirmed they found the people, and all were okay.

In the second alert two men had stranded on Nimos, they were soaked and freezing, because they had fallen into the water when landing. At 04:30pm CET we informed the Greek coastguard who already knew about the case. When the coastguard’s boat appeared, the travelers got afraid, because they feared a push-back to Turkey. After some communication with both sides, the travellers calmed down and they were finally rescued to Simi around 06:00pm.

The third alert came from a boat with 10 travellers close to Kos island via a relative of someone on the boat. At 10:48pm CET we informed the Greek coastguard and at 11:26pm the relative confirmed that he had spoken to the people and they had been rescued. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1407

On 13 December, our shift teams were alerted to three cases in the Aegean Sea:

The first alert came from a group of 45 travelers with many children, who had landed North of Skala Mistegnon on Lesvos. At 03:17am CET we called different authorities on Lesvos, but without success. At 03:30am we alerted the Greek coastguard in Piraeus. At 04:18am the police confirmed they had sent a vehicle to pick them up.

The second alert came in the morning from a boat with 30 travelers, among them many women and children near Samothraki. We alerted the Greek coastguard at 08:11am CET and at 09:03am the people themselves confirmed their rescue.

The third alert reached our team at 11:44pm CET from a boat in distress in the North of Lesvos, carrying 45 people and many children. We informed the Greek coastguard at 11:50pm and at 01:50am the travelers confirmed their rescue. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1408

On 15 December, our shift team was alerted to a boat with about 40 travelers in distress near Ayvalik, very close to the Turkish coast. At 06:11am CET we informed the Turkish Coastguard. They reported difficulties to find the boat, but at 07:34am our team could reach the group again who confirmed to be back on land with the Turkish police. They reported some people got beaten by the police. Later we could not get into contact with them anymore. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1409

On 16 December, our shift team was alerted to a boat with 32 travellers and 11 kids on their way to Lesvos. We could never establish a direct contact to the boat, but finally at 15:56 we received the information by the relatives that these people had arrived safely on Lesvos.

At the same day our team was alerted to a boat with 35 travellers, including 7 children, a small baby and 10 women. They were in distress near to Samothraki. At 7:30h CET we informed the Greek coastguard, who confirmed at 9:13h the rescue of the boat in question. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1403

On 17 December at 8:45h CET, our shift team was alerted to a group of 35 travellers including 7 children, stranded on Simi island. At 8:56h we informed the Greek coastguard. At 14:48h the port authority of Simi confirmes the rescue of all travellers. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1404

On 20 December, our shift team was alerted to a group of 2 women, 5 men and 3 children, stranded on the island of Ro. At 19:36h CET we called the Greek coastguard. At 20:26h the port police in Kastellorizo confirmed they found the group. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1418

On 21 December at 02:25h CET, a relative called the Alarm Phone and alerted us to boat in distress. Onboard were 21 travellers, among them 7 children. Following the GPS position they were in Greek waters. Our shift team called the Greek coastguard at 03:51h. Later, the Greek coastguard informed the Alarm Phone that all people were safe on a boat of their coastguard. Two days later the relative informed us that the people had been pushed back to Ederne, Turkey, by the Greek coastguard. Our investigations are ongoing. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1419

Central Mediterranean

On 1 November 2019 at 03:20pm CET, the Alarm Phone received a call from approx. 40 travelers in distress, among them seven women and two sick people. They were in the Maltese Search and Rescue zone and had started from Zuwarah, Libya the day before. We informed the Maltese Coastguard and the people were rescued and brought to Malta. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1400

On 2 November 2019 at 08:56am CET, the Alarm Phone was alerted by a group of 43 travelers who had started their journey in Zuwarah, Libya two days ago, in a convoy of around 200 people. They had been rescued by tug boat during the night. The Maltese authorities stated the case was in Italian responsibility, but the Italian Coastguard did not give out information to us. Then we learned that the travelers were on board of an Italian oil company vessel whose captain refused to bring them back to Libya. Later the people were transferred to another Italian supply ship called “Asso Trenta”. On 3rd of November around noon the “Asso Tenta” arrived at the port of Pozzallo, Italy, so we considered the rescue as confirmed, but had never received any information about the case from the Italian authorities. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1401

On 19 November 2019, two boats that alerted the Alarm Phone were rescued by the NGO vessel Ocean Viking. One boat, carrying 94 people, was found after we were able to establish good communication with the boat allowing us to keep Ocean Viking and the alleged authorities informed. The second boat, carrying 30 people, was also rescued by the Ocean Viking. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1433

On 20 November 2019, two boats in distress that alerted the Alarm Phone were rescued by the civil fleet, one by Open Arms and one by Ocean Viking. One boat carrying about 95 people was intercepted by the so-called Libyan coastguards. One boat capsized and 70 deaths are feared. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1434

In the early evening of 21 November 2019, our shift team was alerted to a boat in distress with 94 people on board. The rubber boat was losing air and they were in fear for their lives. We contacted the Italian coastguard and NGOs of the civil fleet, providing the GPS position of the boat and requesting urgent assistance. We maintained contact with the boat at regular intervals to ensure we had an up-to-date GPS location and to try to keep them calm. They told us that the rubber tubes around the edge of the boat were broken and they were very scared. Our last conversation with them was at 18.36 CET. In the meantime, two NGO boats, the Open Arms and Aita Mari, moved towards the boat in distress as fast as possible but they were both several hours away. By 22.10h CET both NGO boats were in the area conducting a search. They said it was very windy and they were fearful for the people in the boat. We had made several attempts to contact the so-called Libyan coastguard to find out if the boat had been intercepted but we were unable to get in touch with them. We contacted the Maltese coastguard but they had refused to act using the excuse that the boat was in the disputed Libyan search and rescue zone. We were not able to confirm whether these 94 people (including 13 women, three of whom were pregnant, and children) were intercepted and returned to the dangers of Libya, or whether they lost their lives that night due to the refusal of European authorities to assist. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1435

On 22 November 2019, the Alarm Phone was alerted to 3 situations of distress in the central Mediterranean. The first alert came shortly after midnight from a group of 70 people in distress. They had been at sea since the previous night, water was entering the boat, and they were in urgent need of assistance. The second alert came at 6.30h CET from a boat carrying 45 people in international waters. The NGO rescue boat, Aita Mari, was in the vicinity and headed towards the boat in distress. Before reaching the area they were instructed to stand down by the so-called Libyan coastguards, who then intercepted the boat and returned it to Libya where the people had escaped from. Our third alert came at 19.45h CET from a wooden boat with 47 people on board. We alerted the Maltese coastguard which mounted a rescue operation. However, they did not advise us of their actions until 24 hours after our initial communication. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1436

On Thursday 28 November, the Alarm Phone was alerted to three groups of travellers in the Central Mediterranean sea. All boats were rescued by efforts from civil search and rescue vessels, two boats by Alan Kurdi and one by Ocean Viking, with assistance of the civil aircraft Colibri. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1415

On Friday 29 November, the Alarm Phone was alerted to two boats in the Central Mediterranean sea. We lost contact to both boats without being able to gain certain knowledge about the fate of the travellers. The first boat we assume was returned to Libya, whilst we fear that the second group of travellers might have lost their lives on the journey. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1416

On 20 December, the Alarm Phone was in contact with two boats which started from Libya to reach Europe. One boat with 112 people, among them 30 women and 8 children, was rescued by Ocean Viking in the morning. The other boat with 50 people was rescued in Maltese waters in the evening also by Ocean Viking. All passengers were disembarked in Taranto, Italy, at 23 December. http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1437

Western Mediterranean

On 20 November 2019, the Alarm Phone was alerted to two distress cases in the Western Mediterranean region. 42 people were rescued to the Canary Island. 15 women and children had stranded on a Spanish islet north of Nador, Isla del Congreso and were later rescued and taken to Melilla. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1431

On 24 November 2019 at 22:59h CET, we received a phone call from a group of 12 travellers rowing a Zodiac. The group, presumably, had left from Tangier. We asked the travellers for a GPS position, but we never received one. When we were next able to contact the group, at 00:32h on 25 November, they told us that they had been intercepted by the Marine Royale and returned to Morocco. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1432

On Tuesday the 26th of November at 1.08pm CET the Alarm Phone was alerted by a relative to a boat carrying 73 travellers, including 20 women and three minors. Their fate remains unknown. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1417

On Thursday 28 November, the Alarm Phone was alerted by a relative to a boat carrying 30 people, including 11 women and four children. The boat had left from Dakhla at 6am the same morning, but was already adrift as their engine had broken. They were rescued by the Moroccan navy. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1420

On Friday 29 November, at around 1.15pm CET the Alarm Phone was alerted by a relative to a boat carrying 32 people, including six children and two women in labour. The boat had left from Dakhla at 1am, heading towards the Canary Islands. They were found and returned to Morocco. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1421

On Sunday 1 December, the Alarm Phone was alerted to two groups of travellers that had left from around Dakhla heading towards the Canary Islands. One group lost their orientation, and returned to Dakhla on their own. The other group was unreachable for almost five days, until we finally got a confirmation that they had been rescued by the Spanish Salvamento Maritimo and brought to Las Palmas. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1422

On Wednesday 4 December, we were alerted to 3 boats that had departed from Morocco and were heading towards the Canary Islands. These cases were very complex continued for several days, ultimately we felt that there were actually only two boats, one with 30 travellers and one with 26 travellers, which both arrived safely to Tenerife. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1412

On Saturday 7 December, we were alerted to two distress cases in the Western mediterranean sea. A group of 9 travellers was stranded on some rocks near Melilla, we alerted the authorities however we lost contact with the travellers and their fate remains unclear. In the same evening we were alerted to a boat in distress carrying 37 travellers. We alerted the authorities and the boat was finally rescued to Tenerife, Canary Islands. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1413

On 9 December 2019 at 10:25am CET, the Alarm Phone was called by a person in Morocco who was worried for a boat that had left four days ago from Tan Tan, Morocco. It took us until 11:55am to talk to the people and they reported to be in distress and had already called the Moroccan authorities the day before, but until this moment, nobody had come to rescue them. We informed the Moroccan authorities and the Coastguard of Las Palmas and at 02:00pm the travelers confirmed to be rescued by the Moroccan Navy. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1410

On 16 December, the Alarm Phone was alerted to a zodiac between Nador and Al Hoceima which was losing air. The Alarm Phone was not able to reach the travellers; but in the morning, the travellers called themselves, but after that, no contact was possible anymore. The Moroccan Navy was searching for the boat the whole time. In the end, the NGO Caminando Fronteras and the MRCC Rabat confirmed 7 dead. 84 people were rescued to Nador in Morocco. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1397

On 18 December in the evening, the Alarm Phone received information about a convoy started 3 days ago around Laayoune. The travellers can‘t be reached. On the next day at 12:50h CET Salvamento Marítimo (SM) in Las Palmas was called. SM stated to just have spotted two boats in the south of Gran Canaria. When we called again around 16:00h the authority confirmed the rescue of the boats 1,5 hours ago. http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1398

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