The USS Newport News, a Los Angeles class submarine, visited Gibraltar this week.
Local media has reported that eyewitnesses said a Spanish customs boat was intercepted by a Gibraltar Defence Police vessel after it came too close to the US submarine. The report states:
“Officials at the MoD and The Convent were looking into the incident last night to establish the sequence of events and assess what happened and where.
If classed as an incursion, the incident will almost certainly draw a diplomatic protest, as happens as a matter of routine with all incursions by Spanish state vessels.”
This isn;t an isolated incident, late last year the Royal Navy were forced to chase off a Spanish vessel as it cut across the path of a visiting US Naval vessel in Gibraltar, the USNS Carson City.
The USNS Carson City is a Spearhead class expeditionary fast transport, currently in service with the Military Sealift Command. This American naval vessel was the result of an effort to design a high-speed, shallow draft vessel intended for rapid intratheatre transport of medium-sized cargo payloads.
In addition, last May a Spanish patrol boat reportedly tried to “hassle” an American nuclear submarine attempting to dock at Gibraltar.
According to multiple sources, flares were fired across the bow of the Spanish Guardia Civil vessel Rio Cedena in mid-April as it twice attempted to sail across the front of the American ballistic missile submarine USS Florida.
The USS Florida, a 20,000 ton Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine, was commissioned in 1983 with the hull designation of SSBN-728; with her conversion to a cruise missile submarine, she was re-designated SSGN-728. She carriers 154 BGM-109 Tomahawk cruise missiles.
I wonder which vessel is next?