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.
The Guardia Civil launch Rio Cedeña attempted to cross in front of the submarine but was stopped by the actions the Royal Navy’s HMS Sabre and a rigid-hulled inflatable boat, which manoeuvred in close, according to an eyewitness as reported by ‘The Chronicle’.
“The Guardia Civil boat was forced to a dead stop and made to retrace its course well away from the submarine” said Michael Sanchez, who saw the events unfold and photographed key moments.
A spokesman for the Governor’s office confirmed the incursion “…in the vicinity of an incoming submarine.”
“The professionalism of the Royal Navy and Gibraltar Defence Police ensured there was no risk to safety,” the spokesman added.
This is yet another Spanish incursion into Gibraltarian waters. This is the latest in a long line of political infringements and military incursions into the sovereign territory of Gibraltar. Last year the Spanish Ambassador was formally called into Downing Street and a Formal Complaint was made by the FCO after the Diplomatic Bag was opened on the border with Spain.
Recently there have been many complaints regarding the Spanish behavior, the boarder guards have purposely caused delays for workers who travel across daily on orders from the Spanish government, there have been other incursions by Spanish vessels into water and Spanish divers were seen carrying out investigations on the artificial reef off the Gibraltar runway (which runs out into the sea).
The Spanish Government have yet to respond to their latest violation but what they think they’d gain from harassing an American nuclear submarine, is anyone’s guess.