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.

Excerpt from the FoI response.
Excerpt from the FoI response.

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.

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Rob Collinson

Gibraltar is a British territory. We should gave the right to put any military asset there we wish. There is a navy base there, it was a RN vessel – what is the problem!!

Time Spain grew up and sorted its own house out!

Colin Maxwell

Now they have the sub there they should warn Spain any more excursions and they will torpedo them that would stop the nonsense instantly


This is a tricky one. Spain would have no right to complain if the whole of the conventionally powered fleet and all the aircraft the UK has, decided to visit Gib, but any “incident” on a nuclear powered ship or boat, does affect them.

I guess this makes a case for diesel electrics to be a part of the RN after all.

Former SRR

UK sold its 4DE subs and we Hy hell should be give in to bloody Spanish since when have dictated UK defense policy

andy reeves

quicker to build,less environment issues when they decommission


…but operationally vastly inferior to SSN’s (nuclear attack submarines)…


Yes, but have both.

William Young

Why does Britain do its best to upset nations…after world war 2..can’t see why..we definately do not need to hold on to this another piece of land hundreds of miles away…why did Britain hand back Hong Kong..