App claiming to scan Med for refugees denounced as fake

22 June 2016
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A smartphone application that claimed to scan the Mediterranean Sea in real time for migrant boats in distress has been pulled from Apple’s App Store following reports that it did not actually work.

The app, called I Sea, said it showed registered users real-time satellite footage of the sea routes taken by migrants and refugees. Users could alert the Malta-based Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) should they spot a boat in trouble.

However, the app, which was nominated at the recent Canne Lions awards show in France, was denounced by several developers who said I Sea in fact depicted a static image of the sea.

On Tuesday, MOAS said it was cutting ties with the Singapore-based company that designed the app, Grey for Good.

“We were dismayed to discover that real-time images were not being used,” the charity said in a statement.

UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, said last week it expects 248,000 refugees and migrants to arrive in Europe via the Eastern Mediterranean this year, revising the “up to 1 million” figure it forecast earlier this year.

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