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Refugee rescue app, said to be fake, pulled from the App Store

The app gets dropped shortly after receiving a prestigious Cannes Lions award Monday evening.

I Sea purported to help coastguards identify vessels in trouble.

Marco Di Lauro, Getty Images

An app that claims to help refugees adrift in the Mediterranean make contact with the shore has been pulled from the Apple App Store following accusations that it is a fake.

The app, dubbed I Sea, was developed by Singapore-based ad agency Grey Group and on Monday evening was awarded a bronze medal at the Cannes Lions conference in France.

The app is presented as a tool for locating refugees using real-time satellite footage, but doesn't actually do anything of the sort -- at least right now. The many issues with the app were brought to light by Twitter user @SwiftOnSecurity, who tweeted: "Note that I intuitively knew this app was fake within 20 seconds of using it. It screams unfinished interface mock-up, doesn't act right."

A link to the app on the App Store from Google says the item is currently not available in the UK, but is available in Singapore. Grey's home page features an article published Sunday about the app, which it says it is "currently in its testing period."

"The I Sea app is real," said a Grey Group spokesman, responding to a request for comment. "We said it was in a testing stage and they have some satellite issues to work out. For some reason, a developer unknown to us has pushed the story that it is fake or a hoax."

Update, 11:45 a.m. PT: Added a statement from Grey Group.