Royal Navy ships off the coast of Gibraltar have reportedly chased off Spanish boats illegally fishing in British waters for the third day in a row.

Reports also suggest an alarming attitude in response to these events with a spokesperson saying:

“This is nothing unusual, these things happen often.”

According to reports, Royal Navy vessels had approached the trawler and read out sovereignty warning to leave Gibraltar waters immediately. After about an hour the trawler left.

 

In May last year, 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’ at the time.

Recently, Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis has said Spain will not seek to regain sovereignty over Gibraltar in Brexit talks.

“I won’t make an agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom conditional on recovering sovereignty over Gibraltar. We will try to convince the Gibraltarians that this is a route worth exploring and that it would benefit them too.”

This comes despite a former Ministry of Defence adviser saying that Royal Navy warships should be sent to Gibraltar to ‘protect it from Spain’ while Britain negotiates a deal to leave the European Union.

Writing in Conservative Homes, Luke Coffey, director of the Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies said:

“First and foremost, Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Liam Fox, Michael Fallon, and David Davis should make a joint visit to Gibraltar as soon as possible.

The Ministry of Defence should also make a grand gesture by increasing the Royal Navy’s visible presence in Gibraltar. This would send an important message to the Gibraltarians.

The UK needs to prepare for the worse. This could include maintaining a robust air bridge if the land border is closed. Also, in the event of a border closure by Spain, the UK must be prepared to respond with appropriate, firm, and proportionate measures against Madrid.”

The Spanish government had called for joint sovereignty over Gibraltar after the UK decided to leave the European Union.

18 COMMENTS

  1. Well we only have a little while to wait before we leave the EU and regain control of our fishing grounds. Then the Spanish will find that revenge is a dish best served cold. If it was down to me i’d ask one of our SSN’s to conduct a live firing exercise in Spanish territorial waters. But that’s probably why I’d make a terrible Foreign Secretary !

  2. Sure, there’s irritation here. But as Spain’s Foreign Minister says, Madrid is not going to upset the UK’s Brexit talks with the rest of the EU over Gibraltar. It’s going to try and peacefully persuade Gib that Spanish sovereignty is best. I can’t see them winning but it is the only way to go.
    best Tim

    • Yeah, like the Argentinians try to “pursuade” the Falkland islanders that it is in their interest to accept Argie sovereignty. They are not being friendly Tim62, read between the lines and stop being so wilfully naive.

      • @Steven Jones. Not really sure what you’re on about here.

        Of course Madrid wants Gib to be part of Spain. If you or I were in Madrid that is what we would would be arguing for as well. Nothing wrong in that except – obviously – Gibraltarians don’t want to be part of Spain, Nothing wrong in that either.

        As for Spain’s FM saying that aren’t going to use Gib to upset Brexit talks – let’s be honest here, given all the problems facing those talks Gib is just one more thing on the list. But Brexit is a topic for a different forum.

        As for Argentina – really? does every mention of Gib automatically invoke Falklands? I’d have thought you’re better off citing Ceuta and Melilla. It’s what I always do to Spanish friends! (‘Sure we could deal, so long as it’s part of a bigger deal involving your enclaves too.’ At that point the conversation always ends….)

        As we all know, Argentina’s defence budget is minimal. Their armed forces are now only configured for internal dissent – so talk is all they have. This makes a great deal of sense from their point of view to take it to the UN or the OAS as often as they can. The real issue – for both the UK and Arg is the riches in the southern Atlantic.

        But – again obviously – the Falklanders aren’t interested. And that’s fine too.

        Recognizing the obvious nature of all this is not naive.

        Best Tim

      • What game?

        When UK vessels are doing similar then they should be arrested.
        No different.

        But in reality, it is just the Spaniards playing games.

  3. Tim62 – thanks for the info on Cetua and Melilla. Fascinating reading. Looking forward to meeting my Spanish colleagues 😊.

  4. An additional new offshore patrol vessel, fully equipped and armed should be ordered and names HMS Gibraltar.

  5. If the Spanish are infringing on UK territorial waters than a border force cutter should be based at Gibraltar and board the vessel, arrest the occupants and impound the vessel until after Brexit. Alternatively ignore the repeated attempts at provoking a response from a Spanish government wanting to redirect attention away from an absence of policy ideas in Spain.
    In all seriousness though once Brexit comes about an we regain our EEZ such infringements into uk waters will need a much more vigorous and abrupt response. The UK should be arming up now with retention of River batch 1 vessels and an immediate uplift in RN manpower to enable retention of Ocean and sufficient manpower to deploy all our all too few warships.
    Time for an SDSR 2018!

    • Frankly the fishing industry brings a tiny amount to the UK economy, we would be wasting money defending it.

      Spain shouldn’t be playing these silly games, but realistically it would cost us more to stop it, and would seriously harm the Brexit negotiations should we fall out with Spain.

      • “Frankly the fishing industry brings a tiny amount to the UK economy, we would be wasting money defending it.”

        Its not about fish, its all about intimidation, and with the likes of our current crop of dishonourable gentlemen, the Spanish are simply sending the message to them that we should do the moral thing and hand them all their demands on a plate.

    • Time for an SDSR 2018!

      That all the current crop of Politicians can do, have an SDR, cut the armed forces some more. I mean , they spend billions on 2 white elephants (no catapults, an inability to communicate with F35s and a very weak defensive operability) Far too few surface ships, No anti ship missiles and sailors who cry if Iranians who take their ipods off them.

  6. The British Government are weak, the British are weak and they promote the impression they are weak. With people like Corbyn, Fabbott and May around Spain,Eire, Argentina and Scotland are simply biding their time until they are handed on a plate all their demands, what next Bradford going to Pakistan. Think I’m kidding just look at London where the Met have just stated that white people who speak English (and pay their way) will no longer receive a police service.

    • Corbyn and Diane Abbott are not in the government. Blaming a weak government on politicians who are not even in it. Jesus wept.

      Putting Scotland and Ireland in the same context as Gibraltar and the falklands really does give us a measure of your complete ignorance and lack of knowledge on complex political issues.

      I genuinely believe people this out of touch with reality shouldn’t be given a vote.

  7. I stand to be corrected but I am lead to understand it was the Royal Gibraltar police and its MOD counterparts based in Gibraltar which saw one Spanish fishing trawler off British Gibraltar’s Territorial waters. So perhaps we could start off by getting the facts right. That said, yes the British Government should act more forcefully when dealing with these matters.

  8. I stand to be corrected but I am lead to understand it was the Royal Gibraltar police and its Environmental Agency counterparts based in Gibraltar which saw one Spanish fishing trawler off British Gibraltar’s Territorial waters. So perhaps we could start off by getting the facts right. That said, yes the British Government should act more forcefully when dealing with these matters.

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