A suspected dinghy was sighted off Turkish coast and observed by Refugee Rescue and Lighthouse Relief spotters on land. The boat eventually entered Greek waters, whereby the spotters reported the vessel to Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) and the North Shore Response group. A Turkish Coast Guard (TCG) vessel then began pursuing the dinghy, following the boat into Greek waters, before circling the dinghy and bringing it to a stop. HCG radioed TCG informing them they were in Greek territorial water and they needed to leave.

TCG responded by saying that they understood and would leave to turkey. HCG came alongside TCG who were with the dinghy at this point. At this point they ceased radio comms and seemed to continue the communication verbally. HCG moved 0.5NM away from TCG as they took the dinghy alongside and subsequently back into Turkish waters. They crossed the border where they were met by a larger TCG vessel who embarked the people and took them back to turkey.

SAR organisation: Refugee Rescue

Incident types: Forced retrieval of survivors by non-EU authority; Pullback; On-scene coordination transfer to non-EU country

Date of SAR (UTC): 05/06/2018

Time of first information received (UTC): 10/08/2018 5:20 pm

Source of first information for the NGO: Lighthouse Relief and Refugee Rescue land team

Starting time of first sighting / engagement with target boat in distress (UTC): 17/08/2018 5:35 pm


Number of migrant boats: 1

Type of migrant boat(s): Rubber dinghy

Number of people on board per boat: unknown

Other vessels in the vicinity (e.g. unidentified / cargo / aircrafts): NATO warship, Hellenic Coast Guard, Turkish Coast Guard

Actors involved (by asset / institution type): Lighthouse Relief


Position(s) of vessel(s) in distress at the time of SAR request:

Location description: Territorial waters of Greece