Spanish naval vessel Furor has entered the territorial waters of Gibraltar, Royal Navy vessel HMS Sabre has responded.

Royal Navy patrol vessels are often called into action to intercept Spanish naval vessels that have manoeuvred too close to the British territory.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said that the vessel was challenged by the Royal Navy.

“We can confirm an incursion by the Spanish navy occurred this morning. As with all incursions, the Royal Navy challenged the vessel.”

The vessel responding is HMS Sabre, pictured below.

Gibraltar Based Patrol Boat HMS Sabre MOD 45153356.jpg

HMS Sabre is a Scimitar class fast patrol boat, commissioned into the Gibraltar Squadron in January 2003 along with her sister Scimitar. The vessel is used for police, customs and rescue purposes.

The Furor is an offshore patrol vessel of the Meteoro class (a member of this class of warship is pictured at the top of this article).

The Spanish Navy say that the main missions of this type are:

  • Protection and escort of other ships in low intensity/asymmetric warfare situations
  • Control of maritime traffic
  • Control and neutralization of terrorism and piracy
  • Operations against drug trafficking and human trafficking
  • Search and rescue
  • Support for crisis situations and humanitarian aid
  • Control of fishing laws
  • Control of environmental legislation and anti-pollution.

The ships can also be modified for purposes outside main missions such as hydrographic research, intelligence gathering, diving support and salvage operations.

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HF
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HF

Expect more of the same now the Spanish claim is backed by the EU.

Levi Goldsteinberg
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Levi Goldsteinberg

Indeed. Between this, and Spain’s aid to the Russian Navy; who needs enemies with friends like these?

Steve Salt
Guest
Steve Salt

I wouldnt fret too much, thats probably used up the entire Spanish 2020 defence budget.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Here we go here we go here we go!

whlgrubber
Guest
whlgrubber

Gone are the days when they used old Smokey Joe (ex ww2 destroyer) to cause confrontation problems. We used to pitch up a hundred or so yards away and throw beer cans at them. great fun.!!

Levi Goldsteinberg
Guest
Levi Goldsteinberg

Knowing how proud the Marines are of their Gibraltar exploits even to this day, I wouldn’t fancy being a Spaniard having to go up against them if they went for Gibraltar, a la Falklands

Steve
Guest
Steve

I can’t see Spain seriously having a go at taking the Gib, but if they did it would be stupid easy for them.

It is very lightly protected and unlike the falklands is in easy range of Spanish air force bases (Argentinian planes were operating at near max range and so couldn’t stay on target for long), plus having a land bridge they could easily send large number of heavy gear across the border. Additionally any taskforce would have to sail past Spain to get there, openning them up to land based attacks.

Levi Goldsteinberg
Guest
Levi Goldsteinberg

Oh they’d take it easy enough, but its Spain – retaking it would be a breeze for our boys

Fedaykin
Guest
Fedaykin

By Jingo

4thwatch
Guest
4thwatch

Well no actually. If Spain took Gibraltar it would go to the UN who would do nothing, with a veto from Russia likely.
I would suggest the UK would conduct asymmetrical warfare against Spain on an interesting scale. ‘The pain in Spain………’.

julian1
Guest
julian1

I wouldn’t worry. the blue rinse brigade in Benidorm would quickly throw their fish ‘n chips and full English at the Guardia Civil and the Spaniards would soon withdraw.

Levi Goldsteinberg
Guest
Levi Goldsteinberg

It is inconceivable to think that the government would wait for the UN. If nothing else, such weakness would be electoral suicide for the Tories whereas a quick win in a war like that would be an electoral goldmine.

Spain couldn’t offer much resistance and they’d be gone at like a bull at a heifer with the huge amount of public support there’d be for war

Notforprofit
Guest
Notforprofit

Negotiate a free trade deal with Catalonia, for starters.

Steve R
Guest
Steve R

I don’t think we could retake it. Spain would have all the advantages. Our forces would be opeeating at range while theirs would be local and easily resupplied and reinforced.

What we COULD do, however, which would be even more effective, would be to take the Canaries. We can operate at distance far better than Spain can and could more easily take and hold the islands, or at least the main ones Gran Canaria and Tenerife.

Rob
Guest
Rob

Love it. France also has an island right off the Canadian coast in a similar situation as Falkland Island’s. There’s plenty of trade to be had.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Spain is an ally. This is political just sabre rattling. Talk of war is ridiculous over Gibraltar.
Whatever Spain does with its vessels the UK is still there in possession of a vital strategic point, for the RN and for intelligence gathering.

Let the Spanish play their game and wave at them.

HF
Guest
HF

I agree completely but there will be more incursions.

RobW
Guest
RobW

Agreed, this is all just to keep a minority of right wingers in Spain happy. This all happened when we were in the EU so nothing has changed. There is no point in getting all frothy about it.

Mark B
Guest
Mark B

Hi Daniele. Whilst you are probably right it is probably best to deter any aggression on their part. The Spanish should be left in no doubt that Gib would be properly defended and taken back if necessary and Spanish forces might end up seriously depleted. There probably would have been no attack on the Falklands if the Argentinians had understood there would be a British determination to take them back.

Levi Goldsteinberg
Guest
Levi Goldsteinberg

Your hypothesis on the Falklands is demonstrably correct; just a few years before the war, intelligence picked up rumblings about an invasion in Argentina so a squadron of destroyers and frigates were sent on a ‘goodwill’ tour of the Falklands. Stalled the Argies for years

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Hi Mark B How to deter though? It is a question of balance for me. I’d agree with a clear statement from HMG but no more escalation than that. This episode is merely like a irritating fly buzzing nearby, to zero effect. Increasing military presence too far only aggravates the situation. This is not Russia, but a friendly fellow European country. Any flash point like a confrontation between ships more meaty than Sabre plays into Spain’s hands and makes the news, putting a spotlight on the situation, to Spain’s advantage. Gibraltar would be defended yes, but our presence there is… Read more »

Darren
Guest
Darren

Russia is partly a European country too. Does Spain want to become a un-friendly European Country like Russia? They need to stop this nonsense. We have people behind us trying to intimidate on a passageway that runs behind us, and they are claiming a right too, which they do not have. What do they do…? Harass the local nieghbours who hate them and it looks pathetic.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Hi Darren. Of course they should stop. We had bad neighbours once too, so I know how it feels to be intimidated. But is this Spanish vessel really harassing anything? Or anyone? If the Spanish were launching cyber attacks, blocking the border ( I know, they have done this ) placing obstacles in waters or on Gibraltar territory, infringing airspace, chaining themselves outside the governers residence, committing acts of sabotage, and so on, then that is more serious. Once they have sailed off things return to the way they are. I posted above at the start of this thread “here… Read more »

Gfor
Guest
Gfor

Daniele, why is infringing airspace more of a trigger than territorial waters? Both are equally provocative. Anyway. After a tour to Gib last year and conversations with several Gibraltarians, there is no danger of Spain wanting the rock back. The Spanish see Madrid as an increasingly self absorbed entity that only pays lip service to the wider country. When Madrid need a distraction they pull the Gibtaltar card and wave it around, send the patrol boats almost daily into the waters and then clear off the moment the RN or the Gibraltar Defence Police appear. I watched an interception from… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

“why is infringing airspace more of a trigger than territorial waters? Both are equally provocative.”

You have a point Gfor. Conceded.

Mark B
Guest
Mark B

Gibraltar’s port and airport clearly could be denied by both sides. They are only beneficial in wider conflicts. I would have thought the idea would be to give them a bloody nose and ensure there was enough hidden weapons to make life very difficult until the cavalry arrived.

The objective I think would be to ensure that should a Spanish politician ever ask if Gib could be invaded and held the answer from the Military would be “Probably not”.

Richard Cooper
Guest
Richard Cooper

Let the Royal Gibraltar Regiment take its weapons home. That would make any surprise military takeover turn into a cauldron of street fighting.

julian1
Guest
julian1

but would it be taken back (by military means?) If Spain was serious, not sure we could actually do it militarily given its location. Take-back would likely be by diplomatic/economic means

Levi Goldsteinberg
Guest
Levi Goldsteinberg

Not easily from the land, but from the sea it wouldn’t be too much trouble

julian1
Guest
julian1

really? the Spanish have a big airbase over Algeciras bay and could launch aircraft from short range with impunity. they could mass ground troops on the rock and the approaches. not sure 3 cdo brigade could really take that without any friendly bases. and we have only 15 f35bs!!

julian1
Guest
julian1

the Intel is a good point. As soon as NATO/5 eyes intelligence gathering was compromised, the Americans would likely tell the Spaniards to leave. As you say, a ridiculous thread

Wayne
Guest
Wayne

We need a bigger boat!

Mark B
Guest
Mark B

nah we need a gadget to disable their engines then we can just go out and tow them in. Perhaps we might then be able to negotiate an end to this nonsense.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Lol! Like what we did to the Iranians, for which they retaliated.
Is their patrol boat better than our OPV’s? At least it has a main gun.

Will please plenty here…

Jaralodo
Guest
Jaralodo

Does anyone know when the replacement for the Gibraltar Squadron is going to be selected? One of the very first articles I read on this site was about replacing them within the next 2 years, but I have not seen anything since then about any new boats being selected.

Darren
Guest
Darren

Probably new boats to be built in Spain.

IKnowNothing
Guest
IKnowNothing

Spain must realise that this is the best opportunity they may ever have to get Gibraltar back, or maybe more realistically to achieve some form of token or real political victory regarding their claim. Their claims are now backed up by membership of a european wide collective bargaining organisation, which we are trying to negotiate a trade deal with. Spain has to vote to approve any such arrangement. Suddenly, we are in a vulnerable position where Spain can impose conditions and even disrupt our negotiations entirely if they want to. I’d say it wouldn’t come to that, but just a… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

It is Gibraltars location that is important, and what it gives the UK.

The MoD, other agencies, Cabinet NS advisers, and others would make that quite clear, IF BJ is the clown people say he is.

IKnowNothing
Guest
IKnowNothing

I’m pretty sure he would have had a similar list of people telling him that he cannot put a border down the Irish Sea. Remind me how that went…

Mark B
Guest
Mark B

We have to look after those territories who wish to remain British. Not sure we could look ourselves in the eye (if that’s possible) if we didn’t. Most territories remain British (in part) because they don’t trust their neighbours.

We will find out where Boris’s sticking points are however if he forgets the basics about the UK and it’s territories he won’t last long in my view.

IKnowNothing
Guest
IKnowNothing

You trust BoJo to put a small group of people who he has never met over him achieving what he will see as the glorious success of a trade deal with the EU?

Mark B
Guest
Mark B

Trust doesn’t come into it. It’s not in his or the Conservative and Unionist party’s interests. He loses faith with the Scots, Welsh and Irish plus all of the territories and many of our allies. He would be dumped by the Tories unceremoniously. Besides whilst he wants a good deal – he will happily accept no deal. The rest of the EU will certainly lean on certain counties who block what is in their interests.

Herodotus
Guest

Excellent…. Viva La Brexit!!!!! Smart move guys!

Mark B
Guest
Mark B

? I think the Spanish have been aiming to recover Gibraltar for a couple of hundred years. Not sure where Brexit comes in?

Herodotus
Guest

Read the above ….not too much to ask!

Mark B
Guest
Mark B

Herodotus. I read the comments above which seemed to be a simple attack on Boris followed by an assumption that he will have to cave in – you will see from my comments above. You appear to have extended that to an attack on those that voted for Brexit? Firstly it does not follow that removing ourselves from an economic union should have any effect on sovereignty anywhere and secondly I think we need to move on from the Leaver / Remainer hostilities and get on with our lives. We’ve left already!

Herodotus
Guest

Brexit has opened a can of worms, Gibraltar, and an existential crisis for the UK are the tip of the iceberg. Yes, these were issues before Brexit, but are now much more serious because of it. I love the ‘oh we must get on with our lives’. Brexit was a monumental f–k up that its supporters will gladly shelve all responsibility for once the consequences hit home. The next few years will, no doubt, see crisis after crisis with the end result that our country and economy are carpet-bagged by the USA. I will be here to remind you 🙁

Mark B
Guest
Mark B

Two options – both with their pros and cons. I salute those that made a decision either way and those that are prepared to make the best of the majority decision. If I were to still be moaning about every decision that had negatives in my lifetime I be pretty depressed by now 🙁 Chill out Herodotus ..

Herodotus
Guest

This was the most important decision taken by this country since WW2…..you dismiss it as if as if it were just ‘one of those things’. A prime example of why such matters should be taken by Parliament not casual observers! Pandora’s box is now open…..enjoy!

Mark B
Guest
Mark B

lol. 🙁 I personally would put the Welfare state, NATO, Cold War, Miner Strike, Joining the EU amongst many others as far more influential. I have sympathy for your point on Parliament. You might be right it might be a disaster but I think nobody knows – everybody is guessing. Still it has happened we need to get on with it – I hope for everyone’s sake you are wrong! Have a good day!

Airborne
Guest
Airborne

To be fair, in a purely military and strategic terms Gibraltar is worth far to much to lose, and no matter which selfish bunch of arrogant gits are sitting in No 10, “advice and guidance” would be given, from UK and NATO/US allies to maintain the status quo.

IKnowNothing
Guest
IKnowNothing

That only requires that we have a military port and airfield there. I know the geography of the rock makes it tricky, but retention of those facilities whilst returning the rest of Gibraltar to Spain shouldn’t be beyond the wits of some well paid international lawyers.

Strategic interest and sovereignty can be separated if necessary.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

The port, of strategic importance yes. But you’ve missed the most important strategic aspect of Gibraltar. Location, intelligence wise. And that affects UK USA CAN AUS NZ. The most important facilities are not the port, nor RAF Gibraltar, or Devils Hill Camp. The most important bits alongside the naval base are Windmill Hill Signals station, the associated Maritime Data Centre, the high frequency communications site of DHFCS, and other high tech comms and sigint based equipment that monitors all surface, and subsurface movements in the straight and no doubt listens into northern Africa and Spain too. The US military have… Read more »

Airborne
Guest
Airborne

There’s a damn sight more military assets on Gib than a port and an airfield mate! Some of the most useful and irreplaceable comms and SIGINT, in a location every main player military on the planet would want.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Exactly mate. Which is why it is going nowhere in opinion. Would love to know what exactly is inside there still.

Sean
Guest
Sean

Time will show if we can trust Bojo, though given he has an eye on winning elections he would be harming his own self interest selling out Gibraltar as U.K. voters value our friends on the Rock.

But what we do know is that had Steptoe won the election instead he would have probably given away Gibraltar, The Falkands, Northern Ireland, and probably the Orkneys & Shetlands too. And the Royal Navy probably repurposed as a free ferry service for illegal migrants from Calais.

Herodotus
Guest

Silly nonsense!

Mark B
Guest
Mark B

🙁 Some of the reasons he was un-electable

SoleSurvivor
Guest
SoleSurvivor

How many times are you going to say “but if Corbyn would have won this and that would have happened”

That’s like the fifth time in as many weeks

I can imagine you in 20 years time during a crisis “oh but at least Steptoe didn’t get in 20 years ago he would of made it worse than now”

You’re obsessed with a 70 year old man mate, have a word with yourself the election is over

Sean
Guest
Sean

Oh so long as people keep whinging about the new government before its had a chance to actually do anything?
Sad fact is, I doubt Steptoe is the real problem. Momentum have launched a coup from within Labour taking it over and silencing or removing moderates. Steptoe simply echoed what the Marxists of Momentum preach: with the obvious exception that he was a closet Leaver.
Anyway waters under the bridge now, we probably going to have 10 years of Bojo, possibly followed by another 5 by his an anointed successor.
So get used to it and stop whining.

SoleSurvivor
Guest
SoleSurvivor

But what you are saying is not making any sense, it’s a bit like saying, well this guy has murdered 5 people, but let’s not talk about it or complain about it because the other guy would of murdered 7 people, it’s just stupid and childish to think like that Why are you again obsessing about the Labour Party as if it’s their fault what the government is doing “Sad fact is, I doubt Steptoe is the real problem.” If it’s water under the bridge why are you obsessed with Corbyn and labour, you’re coming across as a rather unhinged… Read more »

Sean
Guest
Sean

I’m sorry what I’m saying isn’t making any sense to you, maybe if I used words of one syllable or abandon words and draw cartoons for you. The Johnson administration has been in power for months. Before that we had May’s Remoaner administration, before that we briefly had a Cameron government for a year, and before that a Con-LibDem administration. If you’re painting them all with the same brush they you clearly don’t understand that political parties consist of individual people with their own views and objectives. (Well except for Labour where deviance from Momentum orthodoxy gets you delselected or… Read more »

SoleSurvivor
Guest
SoleSurvivor

😂 It’s not that it isn’t making sense to me, it’s not making any sense at all Again you’re talking nonsense, political parties have ideology, Theresa May barely did anything different than Cameron, Johnson will do barely anything different than them both, only difference is modest spending increases which have not yet materialised, and even then some departments still have to cut 5% and councils still have a funding crisis, the biggest difference was how to achieve the withdrawal agreement, other than that and maybe a slight change in foreign policy, other than that conservative ideology stays the same Clearly… Read more »

David
Guest
David

Remove the old cannons from the rock, replace them with some 5″ naval guns. Might make the Spanish think twice, after all, there will be no need to pre-heat the ammunition this time 🙂

Herodotus
Guest

Ooh look, an OPV armed with what appears to be an Otto Malera 76mm! How outrageously over gunned is that.

Barry Larking
Guest
Barry Larking

“Spanish naval vessel Furor has entered the territorial waters of Gibraltar …”

Looking for a job?

Callum
Guest
Callum

So the funny thing about Article 5 of NATO is that it makes no mention of where an attack has to come from. As written, any armed attack on a member north of the Tropic of Cancer requires all other members to assist the member under attack. So technically, Spain being a NATO member does NOT protect it from being a target of NATO retaliation if they’re the aggressors.

Would present an interesting legal issue if Spain ever did launch a military occupation of the Rock.

pkcasimir
Guest
pkcasimir

Actually, Article 5 of the NATO treaty is more nuanced than you portray it to be. Article 5 requires each member nation to take the actions it, not NATO or a NATO majority, deems necessary to respond to an attack on a NATO member. A member nation can justify any action, however minimal, as being responsive.

SoleSurvivor
Guest
SoleSurvivor

Actually, that is not correcting in any way what Callum said

Sean
Guest
Sean

NATO isn’t an automatic “one for all, all for one” alliance. First any such case would have to be put to the Atlantic Council, and even if passed as being coveted by Article 5, it’s up to each nation as to how it responds.

Callum
Guest
Callum

I never said it automatically did anything. One of the debates that often comes up in the Gibraltar issue is what happens if a NATO member attacks another. By the wording of Article 5, any armed attack on a state qualifies as valid reason to trigger it, there is no specification that it has to be a foreign nation or group.

My main point was that it would present legal issues for Spain. Aside from the fact it’s just invaded an allied nation, the EU has laws against border changes as well.

Mark B
Guest
Mark B

The key here is that NATO deters aggression. Aggressors will never quite know the reaction of members but in general it is not likely to favour aggressor. Interesting point about the boarder changes ..

OldSchool
Guest
OldSchool

My God. Bet those Spanish sailors are thanking their lucky stars. If they were at war with UK it would be the Speedy vs El Gamo all over again 😂. Perhaps Sabre should remind them of it – fly a pennant with ‘ 6 May 1801’ on it 👌.

Ron
Guest
Ron

One very simple way to stop this stupidity from Spain, use Gib for what its good for a naval base. Have a Amphib Albion/Bulwark with its escort frigate 300 Marines based threre as an advanced base. When the carriers are operational make Gib the advance base for the carrier strike group. It will reduce the time to the Suez canal, and the Falklands by five days, it also reduces the difficulties in the carriers getting out of Portsmouth. Five days doesn’t sound much but in an emergancy it can make a lot of diffrence. It would also mean a further… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Does a carrier that size even fit inside the port?

Apart from the fact that RAF Gibraltar is small, mostly civilian, is part built into the sea, making no space available for HAS and the other infrastructure required for high tech fast jets like F35, are the reports at how loud the F35B is! The Gibraltarians would be shook inside their homes nearby every time an F35 flew!

Demolish the cemetery and the army camp and you might have space.

Ron
Guest
Ron

Yeep, on the outer wall you would get 3-4 battleships of HMS Hood size, so that is not an issue, as for draught the old Hood was about the same and she had no problems, HMS Vanguard has the same draught as a QE. As for the F35s, they would be kept onboard the carrier unless there was some major work that had to be done on them that they could do only ashore and a large hanger needed. Remember the carrier group is foreward deployed so it needs to be ready for sea at one hours notice. I must… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Thanks Ron.

Visited Gibraltar as a kid and LOVED It. Always wanted to return. So no idea on the port size. I remember several Leander Frigates when I was there, the FRADU Hunters, and some visiting Nimrods.

I don’t know for sure the noise level of the 35B either, just what I read here over the years.

Cheers.

WeeWill
Guest
WeeWill

The F35s visit here now and again. They’re distinctive, and loud for a single engine jet, but not the loudest ac I’ve heard. They don’t even cause the dog to look up when they’re taking off.

Crabfat
Guest
Crabfat

Hi Daniele I was stationed in Gib in the early ‘70s and lived in a married quarter overlooking the end of the runway. During the exercise season, I have ‘fond’ memories of being woken up at about 2am, by a visiting Nimrod sitting at the end of the runway for about 20 minutes, whilst their Inertial Navigation System aligned itself (apparently the end of the runway was a ‘known point’ for the INS). They would then go to full power on the engines for a few more minutes before taking off, to relieve another Nimrod, currently on station somewhere. Hopefully,… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

I remember the Hunter post.

Not the best area for a quarter!??

Jonty
Guest
Jonty

Probably just crap navigation……

Rob
Guest
Rob