Nuclear submarine HMS Torbay has docked in Gibraltar and has been welcomed by locals amid repeated Spanish naval incursions.
Locals welcomed Torbay’s visit, given their long-standing frustrations at the recent increased number of incursions into Gibraltar’s waters by Spanish vessels.
HMS Torbay is a Trafalgar class nuclear submarine was originally scheduled to be decommissioned in 2015. However, the vessel underwent extended maintenance and upgrades to allow for a life extension beyond the previously-planned decommissioning date.
The Spanish government have issued a protest over British nuclear submarines docking in Gibraltar. In the last five years, the British territory has been visited at least 30 times by nuclear submarines, despite the Spanish protests.
The information comes to light via a response to a Freedom of Information request, the response can be found here.
While the response states there have been “29 visits”, this was determined prior to the most recent visit of a British submarine.
UK overseas territory Gibraltar is a major staging post for military operations globally.
The Spanish government has also called for joint sovereignty over Gibraltar after the UK decided to leave the European Union.
95.9% of ‘The Rock’s’ 30,000 population voted overwhelmingly for staying in the EU.
Speaking on national radio, Spain’s Foreign Minister said:
“It’s a complete change of outlook that opens up new possibilities on Gibraltar not seen for a very long time. I hope the formula of co-sovereignty – to be clear, the Spanish flag on the Rock – is much closer than before.”
The Royal Navy do not comment on submarine movements.