On 10.15 Lighthouse Relief (LHR) and Refugee Rescue spotters at Lepetimnos reported a dinghy being intercepted by Lithuanian Frontex  just inside of the Greek border. Refugee Rescue requested permission to launch MoChara. However, Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) denied permission to launch. No explanation was given as to why but HCG said they would call Refugee Rescue if assistance was required.

According to visuals provided by LHR and RR spotters, Frontex was sporadic in it’s attempts to guide the dinghy to a safe location, while the nose of the dinghy was starting to deflate.

When Refugee Rescue received information that the migrant vessel was deflating, the coordinator called HCG to provide this updated information, again requesting permission to launch. Initially HCG said they could not understand, and requested we speak to the UNHCR coordinator for the North Shore.

RR called back with a native Greek speaker to translate and provide the information pertaining to the state of the dinghy, but again the crew were denied permission to launch. HCG said the dinghy would land within 5 minutes and no assistance was required.

SAR organisation: Refugee Rescue

SAR asset: Mo Chara

Incident type: Order to stay away by EU authority

Date of SAR (UTC): 22/08/2018

Time of first information received (UTC): 22/08/2018 10:15 am

Source of first information for the NGO: Own detection

Starting time of first sighting / engagement with target boat in distress (UTC): 22/08/2018 10:15 am


Number of migrant boats: 1

Type of migrant boat(s): Rubber dinghy

Number of people on board per boat: 62 people in total: 29 children, 17 women, 16 men

Other vessels in the vicinity (e.g. unidentified / cargo / aircrafts): Lithuanian Frontex

Actors involved (by asset / institution type): FRONTEX vessel (Lithuania); Greek Port Police


Region of Mediterranean: Eastern Mediterranean


Total number of survivors: 62

Number of identified (accompanied) children: 25

Number of identified unaccompanied minors: 4

Number of identified pregnant women: 1

Number of identified medical evacuation cases: 0