En la última semana miles de personas continuaron su lucha por llegar a Europa Central, cruzando los Balcanes con el apoyo de redes solidarias locales e internacionales. Aunque varios países de la región trataron de cerrar sus fronteras y devolver a los viajeros de un lado a otro; estas estrategias no pudieron disuadir que la mayoría avance hacia el norte. Por lo contrario, parece que están condenados al fracaso, dada la fuerza y voluntad de estas personas para reclamar su derecho a la libertad de movimiento.
Mientras tanto, en Turquía surgieron protestas contra el cierre de las fronteras exteriores de la Fortaleza Europa. Más de 3.000 viajeros se reunieron en la ciudad turca de Edirne, para luchar por su derecho a una libre y segura circulación. Comenzaron a marchar hacia la frontera turca / griega y exigieron un cruce seguro, negándose a arriesgar sus vidas cruzando el Mar Egeo. Sin embargo, las autoridades turcas bloquearon el paso haciendo uso de violencia y brutalidad frente a los inmigrantes. Al menos 1.000 personas fueron arrestadas y trasladas a un estadio en el centro de la ciudad de Edirne.
La urgencia y la importancia de su negativa a arriesgar sus vidas en el mar fue una vez más “trágicamente” demostrada la semana pasada. Al menos 108 personas se ahogaron en cuatro diferentes naufragios en el mar Egeo. También para aquellas personas que lograron cruzar, la situación sigue siendo insoportable. Solo en la isla de Lesbos desembarcan diariamente entre 2000 y 4000 personas, número que excede actualmente los recursos e infraestructura de la isla, la falta de alojamientos apropiados y atención médica se hace notoria. Esta situación podría cambiar si se introduce un servicio regular de transbordadores hacia Grecia continental. Esta afirmación también es válida para el Mar Mediterráneo en general, ya que en base a nuestras experiencias de la semana pasada, podemos seguir exigiendo incansablemente como primer paso contra las muertes, ‘Ferries, no Frontex’!
La semana pasada el teléfono de alarma fue informada en total de 43 situaciones de emergencia, 35 de los cuales ocurrieron en el Mar Egeo, 3 en el Mediterráneo Central y 5 en el Estrecho de Gibraltar. Resúmenes de los casos se encuentran en nuestra página, y aquí la versión en español de los casos en la Frontera Sur con Marruecos:
El lunes 14 de sept. de 2015 el telefono de alarma es contactado muy temprano por la mañana, directamente por un bote de goma con diez personas a bordo. El bote había perdido aire poco después de haber embarcado desde Tanger, Marruecos con rumbo a Tarifa, España. Durante la llamada, un barco, probablemente de la Marina marroquí, paso cerca del bote, sin ningún ánimo de intervención. Con esta información se contactó a Salvamento Marítimo, sin embargo el caso fue transferido a la Marina de Marruecos, ya que el bote se encontraba en aguas marroquíes. Después de varios intentos de contactar nuevamente a los inmigrantes en la embarcación, recién en en la tarde se nos confirmó que las personas habían sido interceptadas y rescatadas por las autoridades de Marruecos. La noche siguiente, a las 23:15, Se nos alertó sobre un barco con 14 personas a bordo, entre ellos un niño. Entraba agua a su embarcación. Se informó inmediatamente a Salvamento Marítimo en Tarifa y establecieron contacto directo con las personas a bordo. Cuando la patera comenzó a hundirse, nos pidieron que llamar también a los Guardacostas de Marruecos. Cerca de las 2 de la madrugada se nos informó que la marina marroquí había interceptado y rescatado a todas las 14 personas a bordo (véase: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/264).
El 15 de septiembre, fuimos contactados alas 9am directamente desde una patera en peligro de naufragio, con cinco personas a bordo remando en dirección norte. Se nos pidió informar a Salvamento Marítimo. Al hablar con ellos, se nos informó, que estaban al tanto de este caso y que existía una operación de búsqueda de parte de S.M. así como de la Marina marroquí. Una hora más tarde, el equipo de turno pudo establecer nuevamente contacto con las personas a bordo. Aún se encontraban en peligro, pero podían divisar algunos otros barcos a distancia. A las 10.15 se nos informó que la patera fue interceptada por la Marina marroquí y devuelta a Tánger (ver: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/265) .
El miércoles 16., el teléfono de alarma contactaba con una patera en aguas internacionales entre Marruecos y España, con nueve personas a bordo. A pesar de encontrarse en peligro de naufragio, un buque cercano se negó a socorrerlos. Muy por el contrario, les cerró el paso hacia España. Algunas horas más tarde, estuvimos de nuevo en contacto con las personas migrantes, quienes informaban que el buque, que se negó a rescatarlos era español y obligó a la patera a esperar a la Marina marroquí, que traslado finalmente a todas los inmigrantes de regreso a Marruecos. El teléfono de alarma sigue investigando, si el buque español formaba parte del Salvamento Marítimo o se trataba de un buque de la Guardia Civil española (ver:
El viernes 18 de septiembre 2015 una patera en el Estrecho con 11 personas partieron de Tanger a las 5 am, pedía auxilio por parte de Salvamento Marítimo. A las 9.40am Salvamento Marítimo confirmó una operación de búsqueda y rescate para este caso. A partir de las 11 am estuvimos en constante contacto con las personas a bordo, tratando de tranquilizarlas, ya que se encontraban en peligro inminente. A las 11.48am Salvamento Marítimo de Tarifa nos confirma que nuevamente las autoridades marroquíes habían interceptado la patera. Un par de minutos más tarde y en contacto con una de las personas de la patera, se nos informa que las t11 personas fueron trasladadas hacia una estación policial del puerto de Tánger-Med (véase:http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/267).
Mediterráneo Central y Mar Egeo
On Monday the 14th of September 2015, the Alarm Phone was informed about three vessels in distress in the Aegean Sea, close to the Greek islands of Lesvos and Samos. In the early morning the Alarm Phone received an emergency call from Nawal Soufi’s activist collective, which alerted us to a boat in distress with many children on board and provided us with its GPS coordinates. As these showed the travellers close to the shores of the Greek island of Lesvos, our shift team immediately called the Greek coastguard. Some time later, our contact person informed us that the travellers had reached Lesvos Island independently. In a similar case we received the position and telephone number of a boat between the Turkish coast and the northern shore of Lesvos via Facebook. After speaking directly to the travellers we could confirm that they were safe and had presumably already reached Lesvos. Already in the early morning a contact person had informed us via WhatsApp about a boat in distress north east of the Greek island of Samos. Unfortunately, direct contact to the boat could not be established, thus rescue cannot be confirmed (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/260).
On Tuesday the 15th of September 2015 the Alarm Phone dealt with a total of eight cases in the Aegean Sea, partly with boats in distress at sea and partly with groups of travellers who had successfully crossed the sea but were stranded on remote Greek islands. In one case, we witnessed again an attack on one boat.
30 minutes past midnight, our shift team was informed about a boat in severe distress quite close to the Turkish coast, south of Izmir. We immediately alerted the Turkish coastguard. Although they promised to send a rescue boat within one hour, the situation became increasingly dangerous: at 1.30am a contact person reported to us that there some travellers felt overboard and that help had still not arrived. Again, the shift team reached out to the Turkish coastguard and explained the urgent distress situation. Finally, at 2.52am, the shift team got a WhatsApp message from a contact person stating that the Turkish coastguard had rescued all 42 people on board.
In the following hours, the shift team was engaged in three similar cases. Via contact persons, we were informed about 43 people in distress near Cesme/Turkey, about 42 people in distress near Kos/Greece and about another boat in distress close to Chios/Greece. After direct contact with all three boats, the shift team alerted the respective coastguards. While Turkish authorities rescued the first boat, the second one was rescued by Greek authorities. In the third case, the boat even arrived by itself on the Greek island of Chios.
Around midday the Alarm Phone received a message via Facebook, informing us about a boat that had successfully reached Lesvos but, according to eyewitnesses, had been attacked by the Turkish coastguard on its way from Behram/Turkey to Lesvos/Greece. At least one of its passengers is said to have fallen overboard during this assault. We called a contact person who met the group on Lesvos. Meanwhile, we called the Turkish Maritime Rescue Coordination Center and at least got to know that two passengers who fall overboard were rescued and their families had been informed. The officer even knew the name of one of them, and this name matches the information that we have. The Alarm Phone will continue to investigate this case.
On the same day we also supported three groups of travellers who had stranded on several remote Greek islands. At 10.35am the shift team was informed of a group of 30 women, 10 children and 60 men, who had stranded in the very north east of Samos. We talked to the travellers and alerted the port authorities of Samos, the Greek coastguard in Piraeus, the Greek police as well as the UNHCR in Greece via mail and phone. Only two days later, on Thursday, 17th of September 2015, one of the travellers finally confirmed to us the rescue of the whole group.
Tuesday night, two similar cases reached us. At 8.38pm a contact person informed us about a group of 300 people who had run ashore on a small, uninhabited Greek island on Tuesday morning. Unfortunately, we were neither able to reach the group, nor to locate them. We passed the phone numbers of the Greek coastguard and the UNHCR Greece to our contact person and he informed the coastguard already in the same night. On the next morning, we spoke to UNHCR Greece about this case. Finally, on Wednesday at 2.50pm we again talked to our contact person who confirmed to us that all 300 people safely arrived on Kos on Tuesday evening. In another case a group of about 50 people, including 20 children had stranded on the tiny Greek military island Farmakonisi. After obtaining these information directly form the travellers, we alerted the port authorities and the police of Leros, the closest inhabited Greek island. In the following two days we stayed in touch with the police as well as the UNHCR Greece. Finally, on Thursday, both sides confirmed to us that the group from Farmakonisi would be brought to Leros in the early evening (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/261).
On Wednesday the 16th of September, as on the day before, the Alarm Phone was alerted to eight groups in distress in the Aegean Sea, involving more than 200 travellers. While in four cases they succeeded to reach the Greek islands by themselves, Turkish authorities rescued three groups, and to two groups the Alarm Phone provided support after they had stranded on small islands. For detailed information on the individual cases see: http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/273.
On Thursday the 17th of September 2015 the Alarm Phone dealt with three emergency situations in the Aegean Sea. At 6.46am a contact person informed us about a group stuck on the tiny Greek island of Pasas between Cesme/Turkey and Chios/Greece. The group of 94 people, including children and women, had stranded there two hours earlier. One young man was injured and not able to walk. We alerted the Greek authorities and the UNHCR Greece via mail and called the Greek coastguard in Piraeus. At 7.50am the contact person told us that the group would be transferred to the Greek island of Chios by the Greek military.
On the same day we were informed about two boats in distress between the Turkish coast and the Greek islands of Lesvos and Samos, respectively. We alerted the responsible authorities and in both cases the contact persons who had informed us finally confirmed rescue (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/262).
On Friday the 18th of September 2015 the Alarm Phone dealt with four emergency situations in the Aegean Sea, near the Greek islands of Samos and Lesvos.
At 00.40am a contact person sent us a WhatsApp message with a phone number of a group of 35 travellers and their coordinates, which showed them between the Turkish mainland and the Greek island of Samos. As their position was very close to the Turkish coast, we alerted the Turkish search and rescue coordination centre in Ankara, both by phone and by e-mail. During the night, we were not able to speak to the travellers again. At 6.10am the Turkish coastguard reported to us that they had not been able to find a vessel at the position in question. But at 8am a contact person confirmed that the group had safely and independently arrived on the Greek island of Samos. In a similar case we were alerted to 41 travellers, whose engine had broken down between the Turkish coast and Lesvos/Greece. We called the group and advised them to call back in case of distress. At about 9am they informed us that they had safely arrived on Lesvos.
On the same day, Nawal Soufi’s activist collective informed us about two cases of distress at sea as well. While in one case no contact to the travellers could have been established, in the other case we directly spoke to a group of 45 travellers, whose engine had broken down on their way from Atatürk/Turkey to the Greek island of Samos. We called the Greek coastguard in Piraeus and provided them with an approximate position of the boat. Two hour later we again reached the boat. The travellers confirmed that they had safely arrived on Samos in the meantime (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/269).
Also on Friday the 18th of September 2015 a boat in distress between Tangier/Morocco and Tarifa/Spain called the Alarm Phone. 11 travellers had left Tangier at 5am and asked us to alert the Spanish rescue organization Salvamento Maritimo in Tarifa. At 9.40am Salvamento Maritimo confirmed to us that they had been in contact with this boat and had started a search and rescue operation. From 11am onwards, the shift team established direct contact to the boat several times. The travellers were calm but still in distress and told us that the coastguard had not yet arrived. At 11.48am we learned from Salvamento Maritimo in Tarifa that the Moroccan Navy had intercepted the boat. A couple of minutes later we called the travellers again, who had indeed been brought to a police station in the port of Tangier-Med. At around noon we alerted several contact persons in Tangier and at 12.30pm they also confirmed that the 11 travellers were back in Morocco (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/267).
On Saturday the 19th of September 2015 the Alarm Phone dealt with five emergency situations in the Aegean Sea. In three cases the travellers safely arrived on Greek islands and in two cases they had been returned to Turkey.
Around midnight Nawal Soufi’s activist network informed us about two boats in distress near the Greek islands of Lesvos and Chios. While in the case near Lesvos the travellers asked us to alert the Turkish coastguard, who conducted a rescue operation, in the other case we were later informed that the group of travellers had arrived on the island of Chios independently.
At 6am we received a call informing us about a boat in distress near the Greek island of Lesvos. We reached the travellers at 6.20am, a group of 49 people. Their engine had broken down and they had lost orientation, unable to provide us with their current position. They saw another boat not far away that had been rescued by the Turkish coastguard. But as they were supposed to be in Greek territorial waters, the Turkish coastguard refused to help them. Shortly afterwards we alerted the Greek coastguard in Piraeus. In the afternoon, a contact person informed us that the group had arrived safely on Lesvos.
Another case of distress near the northern shore of Lesvos was forwarded to us at 10.20am. We informed the Greek coastguard in Piraeus about the distress situation via e-mail and tried to contact the travellers. At 11.45am we got in touch with them, a group of around 50 people, including many women and children. They provided us with their current position via WhatsApp, which we immediately forwarded to the Greek coastguard. The person on duty told us that they had sent a patrol boat already but had found nobody. Obviously this was false, as we had spoken to the travellers in distress just a couple of minutes earlier. Afterwards we wrote another e-mail to the Greek and the Turkish coastguards, providing them with the latest GPS position that clearly indicated that the travellers in distress were in Greek waters. At 4.20pm we talked to travellers again. We learned that they had safely arrived in Greece.
At 12.40pm a friend reported another distress case to us, this time between Behram/Turkey and Lesvos. The engine of the vessel had stopped and at 1pm the contact person urged us to call the Turkish coastguard as the situation had worsened and the travellers were still close to the Turkish coast. We alerted the Turkish coastguard and they assured us that they would send a rescue vessel and call us back as soon as they had results. At 1.40pm we forwarded the latest position of the boat in distress to the coastguard. About an hour later, at 2.45pm, both our contact person as well as the Turkish coastguard confirmed to us that the travellers had been rescued and were returned to Turkey (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/270).
Also on Saturday the 19th of September 2015 Father Mussie Zerai alerted the Alarm Phone to three boats in distress in the Central Mediterranean Sea. The Alarm Phone had direct contact to two of them and, in the end, the Italian coastguard confirmed the rescue of all three boats. On that day, due to good weather conditions, a total of 20 boats had left the Libyan coast and prompted yet another large-scale search and rescue operation in the Central Mediterranean Sea. According to the Italian coastguard, at least 4343 travellers had been saved in more than 20 operations, involving 12 rescue vessels.
At 2am Father Mussie Zerai informed the Alarm Phone about a distress call he had received. We got a hold of the travellers on the phone at 2.13am. We learned that they were 500 people and had started in Zuwara/Libya some hours earlier. They also told us their GPS position, which was about 27 kilometres north east of Zuwara. Immediately afterwards, we called the Italian coastguard and provided them with all the information we had obtained so far. In several phone calls with Médecins sans Frontières’ rescue vessel, the Bourbon Argos, which was in vicinity to the boat in distress, we learned that a military vessel was even closer to the boat in distress and had been advised by the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) to launch a rescue operation. In the following hours we continuously tried to get in contact with the travellers on board. But although the phone was ringing, nobody picked up. In another phone call with the crew of the Bourbon Argon in the afternoon, they confirmed to us that the military vessel had indeed rescued the boat in distress in the early morning.
At 6.23am Father Mussie Zerai alerted us to another boat in distress with 300 travellers on board and forwarded a satellite phone number. Despite several attempts we were not able to reach the travellers and thus could not obtain any information about their position. At 7.07am we called the Italian coastguard and informed about this boat. Afterwards, contact to the travellers could not be established anymore. But in a phone call at 3.34pm the Italian coastguard confirmed their rescue.
A third alert of Father Mussie Zerai reached the Alarm Phone via WhatsApp at 7am. A rubber boat with 100 persons on board, including pregnant women and children, was in distress north of Misrata/Libya, in the eastern part of the Central Mediterranean Sea. We immediately informed the Italian coastguard and forwarded the GPS position and the satellite phone number of the boat in distress. At about 8am the Italian MRCC called us back and asked for the latest position of this particular boat, as the initial one seemed to be outdated. We talked to the travellers again and they gave us an update on their position, which was indeed 14.5 kilometres further north east. We informed the Italian coastguard accordingly. At 9am the travellers called back, stressing the urgency of their situation. In the following four hours we were in constant exchange with the boat in distress and immediately forwarded the latest position to the coastguard by phone. After having received and forwarded a last update on their position at 12.55pm, the connection to the boat broke down. At 3.34pm, we called the Italian coastguard again and asked about this particular case and also about the two others we had alerted them about. In this phone call they confirmed that in the meantime all three boats were rescued and that all travellers were safe (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/272).
On Sunday the 20th of September 2015 the Alarm Phone dealt with four emergency situations in the Aegean Sea, near the Greek island of Samos and Farmakonisi. While in one case the travellers had finally arrived on the island of Samos independently, in the three remaining cases we learned that the boats in distress had been rescued and returned by the Turkish coastguard (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/271).