A Spanish warship has illegally sailed through the waters of the British territory of Gibraltar, reportedly blasting the Spanish national anthem on loudspeakers.

The ship was the Infanta Elena, a Descubierta class corvette dating from 1980.

Update: Some sources have disputed claims that the national anthem was played, with the Foreign Office confirming this.

Local Twitter user recorded the video on the afternoon of the 4th of December. The original video is displayed below, directly from the users Twitter feed. @Atajate71

The course the vessel took can be seen here.

Earlier in the week, nuclear submarine HMS Astute arrived in Gibraltar for a routine stopover in the territory.

The submarine has been busy over the last few weeks. Last month, Type 23 Frigate HMS St Albans and HMS Astute faced off against each other off the Scottish coast.

Spanish actions in and around Gibraltar are frequent, just last month, a Royal Navy vessel fired a warning flare after Spanish Guardia Civil vessel got too close to nuclear submarine HMS Talent. It is understood that HMS Talent was departing Gibraltar after having her Tomahawk missile stores replenished.

Earlier in the year, the USS Newport News, a Los Angeles class submarine, was harassed as she visited Gibraltar. Local media reported at the time that eyewitnesses said a Spanish customs boat was intercepted by a Gibraltar Defence Police vessel after it came too close to the US submarine. The report states:

“If classed as an incursion, the incident will almost certainly draw a diplomatic protest, as happens as a matter of routine with all incursions by Spanish state vessels.”

These aren’t isolated incidents, late last year the Royal Navy were forced to chase off a Spanish vessel as it cut across the path of a visiting US Naval vessel in Gibraltar, the USNS Carson City.

In addition, last May 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, a 20,000 ton Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine.

The value of Gibraltar was recently explored by one of our writers in ‘We Will Rock You – The Resilience and Importance of Gibraltar‘, which discusses why Britain, despite the complication of politics and the time, takes the cost and effort it takes to deploy and station military assets and personnel despite the damage to relations with Spain and other nations whom side with the Spanish over the issue of its sovereignty.

The obvious military advantage of Gibraltar is that its geographic position enables pooling of resources for quick deployment throughout the Mediterranean which can be achieved by either air or sea with its dedicated naval port and air base. But another, and often overlooked, reason which simply cannot be ignored is the ability to gather intelligence which the Rock of Gibraltar brings.

Standing over 30 meters taller than the highest point of the Empire State Building the Rock historically enabled a visual long range vantage point into Spain, the Mediterranean Sea and Morocco that could be used to spot enemy movements which Britain could take the necessary pre-emptive measures against. This is still the case today, but rather than only a visual vantage; the rise of technology coupled with the height of the Rock enables an audible vantage where the military are able to both transmit and receive communications over great distances.

This is aided by the Rock itself being a natural structure made of limestone; meaning it is completely maintenance free, with exception to pathways and roads, and is soft enough to create a tunnelling system as was constructed during both the 18th century Siege and the Second World War, yet is strong enough to maintain safe footing and load-bearing’s.

The string of events occurring between the 18th century and leading through to the current day has demonstrated time upon time again that the sovereign territory of Gibraltar has both a military and economic strategic importance. However, these events, as important and well-documented as they are, seem outshone by Gibraltar’s cultural importance as a symbol of national resilience and strength. Gibraltar has remained staunch in its defiance to the numerous overt and covert attacks over the last 300 plus years which has nurtured a culture of dedication and loyalty amongst the locals. This was exemplified in the 2002 referendum where they were asked whether Britain and Spain should share sovereignty – resulting in 98% of Gibratarians saying it should remain British.


    • exactly my response to….. plus there are many other simple acts that can be taken such as promoting holidays in numerous other countries instead of Spain, although the thousands of UK nationals living in Spain would also be placed under further stress by the Government there.

      In the global society one act or action often results in a reaction and so on.

      The music is awful. just listen to it.

      • You have hit the nail on the head. Portugal. Just as nice, cheaper and it will teach the Spanish a subtle lesson. Either that or mine the straight and dont tell them.

      • Fortunately, not all people living in the Iberian Peninsula are like that. We, Catalans, want to quit Spain, but get no support from Europe, pity.
        By the way, you are right, the music is awful.

        • It is very interesting to see how Independent Catalans understands mathematics. Not even half of the population want to become independent but for them is like the entire Catalonia. It is curious to see how independent people take advantage of any news to introduce the never ending story. It is embarrassing to see how certain people are trying to generate hatred.
          Spanish people are tired of you guys. Catalonia is Spain and if you do not like it, feel free to choose amongst 193 existing countries to live in peace.

          As for the ship sailing the Spanish anthem, I cannot give my opinion because it is very difficult to know the truth. Also it was said that Gibraltar gained Spanish territory by building up new structures…who knows it properly!? What it is crystal clear is that the hatred is creating jobs in Europe. That is the real pity.


      • Perfect, we should have to receive more drunken, stupid rude british. We prefer french, germans, americans, japanese, italians and rusians (these last people are more polite and have more money than you).

        • the german tourist trade has fallen away, because of the
          cost of going to gib has risen steeply for getting to gib from germany. get the likes of ryan air to operate the ‘gib run’ with levy’s the spanish will get the message, about who is running their economy, it will be the tourism trade operated by the u.k and if embargos are put on trade with spain, then, it will be another kick in the economy for the poor spaniards

        • in 5 years, you won’t have any of them. all those closed businesses and hotels will show how inept and stupid the spanish are.

          • And you, who comes to Spain to buy houses, do you even know how to say hello in spanish?. Low that arrogance. You deserve the brexit.

        • Well said Xavier. I apologise for all my xenophobic fellow Brits. To be fair, transiting a frigate through Gibraltar waters playing your national anthem was a stupid thing to do. I was surprised by this action. There are better ways to express your objections and to resolve this issue. But Spain’s stupid action does not justify the stupid comments from my compatriots.

          • What a really ignorant comment from Sceptical Richard.
            Did you even read the comments before the xenophobic Xavier had his rant? I didn’t think so, but from seeing your previous posts I will wager you felt all warm and self important after you posted it.
            Perhaps start apologising for your own bigotry and small mindedness first.

          • don’t apologise for me, i can do that myself neither i, my family or anybody i know go to spain anymore places like torremolinos are now tired tatty places, with poor service, prices, clean hotels or decent sanitation i prefer the greek islands, civil, clean,friendly,forward looking and a pleasure to visit

      • Please, enjoy your holidays in other countries. We don’t like to have our coast full with drunked English guys.
        I also suggest you to read the Utrecht agreement, were clearly is stated that only waters surrounding the port belong to Gibraltar. Exactly as the Airport that is build in Spanish Territory.

        • Dear Frank, seems you have not read UNCLOS, which supersedes Utrecht. So yeah, Gibraltar, like every other state in the world gets to govern it’s waters.

          For comparison, here is a similar case where Utrecht is superceded by a more modern treaty. In the Treaty of Utrecht, the Spanish Crown requested that Jews and Moors not be allowed to settle in Gibraltar. It ill be no surprise to you, that people who identify as Jewish and/or Moorish do indeed reside in Gibraltar. Thank heavens for progress and sensible interpretations of the law.

          Next time you want to quote ancient treaties I suggest you look to see what happened in the following two centuries. .

        • This is a great idea. We should take our money elsewhere and ruin the Spanish economy which depends so much on tourism.

          It achieves nothing but ruin to your economy.

          • I live in Ibiza, may be you know were it is, yes honey it’s in Spain, and at least the people from the islands, we will love, for the english(Not all UK), to go else were, and not come to Spain, Usually english means cheap tourist, no money, a bounch of drunk people, so, PLEASE go to Portugal or to hell

          • The difference is that Ceuta and Melilla have never belonged to Morocco. Both cities were part of the Roman Empire and after its fall, were part of the Hispanic Visigoth Kingdom, long before the muslim arabs invasion.

          • that just shows the hypocritical the spanish are the ceuta and melilla subject is one the u.k politically, should be given a higher profile in the media.

        • we shall enjoy our holidays elsewhere , we won’t see children in rags begging tourists to buy tatty sombreros , to feed their empty bellies spain will be viewed in the same way as the 3rd world nations are.

        • the runway and the road across it are both sovereign turf belonging to both nations this issue won’t get solved here, its like ireland and argentina neither will accept the others opinions, even when the gun is used.yes, spain is childish but until the people of gibraltar accept spanish rule it, and it never will,especially after seeing the way they acted during the catalan issue like the falkland islanders

        • we do enjoy our holidays in other countries, that’s why more britons going elsewhere is now the majority.i’m fluent in german, and a conversation i had about spain with him showed, the germans are not so bothered about going to spain, is because, its getting more expensive, they hate the toilets,the sight of seeing children barefoot in th2,ooo’s begging tourists to buy cheap tatty sombreros so that they can eat’ is a disgrace.spain is becoming a third world nation and doesn’t even know it.

    • @GWM What will YOU be doing to influence the British Government and to prevent an order being placed with Spanish manufacturers?

    • time to show spain that the u.k will defend gibraltar at all costs base a sizeable warship at gibraltar and a full squadron of r.a.f fighters, ,a full battalion rapier batteries, as they are retired from elsewhere a land ceptor system and a couple of challenger tanks and paint the airport runway red white and blue an astute permanently on patrol in the waters either side of the rock hang the biggest union jack ever mad from the top of the rock!

      • LOL don´t forget Gibraltar is a colony under UN Special Committee on Decolonization. Spain has the right to claim the Rock back and war is not the most intelligent move, especially after Brexit when EU is on Spain´s side.

        • which is exactly why the issue of gibraltar should be raised higher in the world media, bringing people and nations to the information will in the long term re enforce the rights of people to determine their own futures and politics should be kept out of these affairs.

      • I was stationed in Gib during the Falklands War. The Navy draped the largest battle ensign they could find from St George’s Hall at the end of Ince’s Gallery. It faced directly into Spain and the locals of La Linea were not happy…………

    • It’s very difficult to tell Navanita that the actions of their owners (i.e. the Spanish government) has necessitated the RFA telling them to stick their tender where the sun don’t shine (and I don’t mean Birmingham) if they’re not in the list of bidders anyway.

      • United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982.
        Spain Ratified it. And that super-cedes Utrecht.
        Spain can Complain and make declarations all they want, but Articles 309 and 310 of the Convention state that “No reservations or exceptions may be made to this Convention unless expressly permitted by other articles of this Convention”, and that if a signatory state makes a declaration upon ratification, that declaration must “not purport to exclude or to modify the legal effect of the provisions of this Convention in their application” to that state.

        Spain ratified it. Spain is stuck with it. Sorry but there you are. Perhaps you should ask Spains Politicians if they read UNCLOS before actually signing it. LOL!

      • Can you point out the bit in the Treaty of Utrecht that makes them Spanish waters? Is there such a bit? Does it’s absence mean that Spain doesn’t have any territorial waters?

        Or did everyone at the time work out territorial waters by whose coastal batteries were in range? Until we all got civilised and agreed rules (i.e. UNCLOS) that gives any/all inhabitable land with a coast a share.

    • After reading the initial findings on the Norwegian frigate sinking I would suggest there’s more than one reason not to buy for Navantia.

      • Spain’s chances of including Gib in our Brexit plans are dead as it looks highly likely Britain will now remain in the EU after all???

    • They comes a point in time when you realise that holding the morale ground just means you in a prominent place for others to point at you and laugh as the go about doing you harm without a care.

  1. Honestly, the Spanish are worse than the Argentinians. The Argies are all talk, but they at least have the decency to not claim to be our ally. Spain, meanwhile, is meant to be one of NATO’s bigger members, yet look at the belligerence they display to an ally.

    Issue a public warning: trespassers in Gibraltar’s territorial waters will either submit to being boarded or they will be fired upon. Make it big, make it loud, and make it clear enough to the Spanish that there can be no misunderstanding

  2. That actually made me laugh.

    Just how immature can a government get?

    Playing the anthem over loudspeakers!

    Oh how I wish appeaser May would hold a press conference now outside No10 over this. No war drums or any other silly violent ideas that we read on here sometimes.

    Just make the Spanish look stupid, like they are already doing, by doing something equally ridiculous back.

    Can we not have a fast patrol boat with some sort of unwashable paint or dye fired from something like a riot control cannon to smother Spanish vessels whenever they intrude?

    Then highlight it in the evening news and ignore the protests.

  3. I do believe the company, Navantia, that may be bidding for the FSS, also built the HNoMS Helge Ingstad. The prelimary report states that the ship was severely compromised by shoddy build standards, especially in regards to welded bulkheads which on initial inspection have been found to be tack welded rather than seam welded. Should we allow a shipyard that hid poor build standards to even place a submission to compete for the FSS project.

    Perhaps we could lease the Sola TS and its crew to “patrol” the waters around Gib. Flares are only so good if you back it up with decisive action. This was proven in both Iraq and Afghan, so should be no different to stupid and dangerous incidents on the sea.

    • If they do not get built in the UK, which they should be if only we could ever build something at a competitive price, which I doubt, then I’d hope Japan or South Korea get them not supposed European allies such as Spain.

    • they won’t get the contract, and if spain is descreetely told it is because of their childish actions over gibraltar, and that all british trade with spain will be be subject to question,until it grows up

    • deploy a BIG squadron of archers, fitted with the 20mm cannon they were designed to be fitted with.it would be good to see a proper naval use for the oft forgotten part of the r.n tell the spanish the border police squadron has been tripled as a result of their belligerent, ill conceived incursions around gibraltar and they in return would if considered necessary be replaced by a real warship.

  4. Just blast out the old theme tune to the old BBC Soap “El Dorado” in return or failing that “Santas Coming to Town”

    Silly – very

  5. It’s a timely opportunity to reinstate the RN training squadron. However have a frigate and a tender (b1 river) based at the rock. It would improve retention as the attraction of a bit of sun early in a trainees career, also reaffirm our commitment to the population and offer a more sensible level of protection, something our friends across the water would support. A win, win, win and win option?

    • Logical, but given stretched resources perhaps not practical. Although, we do have a T23 tied up alongside. Perhaps transfer her to Gib as multi purpose training ship/visual deterrent/floating gun battery? Even if the ship couldn’t actually sail, it would be perfect for combat drills: Spanish incursion, sound general quarters, bring the 4.5″ on target and start coordinate with the patrol boats.

  6. I may be sailing into stormy waters here but how do people feel about Brexit. In, out the PM’s plan or whatever. I think(?) I’m in favour of the May plan because it moves us forward. I can’t bear the thought of going back to square one. It’s Just that if we are to move to being a more global power I don’t see it happening while we have to put up with this sort of crap.

    • May’s plan is hideous. All the same costs, no influence on anything and strapped into a straitjacket until the EU decide to release us, for which they will want further concessions

    • Being in the EU does not stop us being a Global Power. In fact if leaving reduces our GDP then it would reduce our ability to field large forces.

      Also this is happening in Gibraltar. If anyone should know about these issues you would think it would be the residents of the Rock and they voted massively in favour of remaining in the EU with 96% voting to remain.

      • The only reason 96% of us voted remain was because we saw these issues with Spain coming a mile off. We are well accustomed to their immature tacticts. If we were geographically elsewhere you would have seen a higher “leave” vote guaranteed.

    • I tatolly agree with you Geoffrey unfortunately labour have put party interest before country and MPs are putting their political careers before country. Mays deal make sense to me, a no deal would be tragic.

      • The backstop is why MP’s have a problem with it.
        If May’s agreement is signed, the UK will have no way out of the customs union without the EU’s say so, so they hold all the cards in a future negotiation. Even if they agree to put a customs check down the Irish sea, the French and Spanish and whoever else will find something to complain about that prevents a future trade agreement being arranged unless the UK make significant concessions be it money, fishing, science and goodness know what else.
        From what I can see if this deal is signed the UK will end up in the customs union for the foreseeable future irrespective of NI (the EU is simply using it as a pawn to strengthen its negotiating position and they will exploit ever last inch of it)

        • I’ll be honest, I’m a very ardent remainder. Despite the rhetoric that was coming the other way during the referendum campaign I always took the view during that it was the leave campaign that was talking Britain down by portraying us as the snivelling weakling being bullied by the big boys of the EU whereas I saw us (the U.K.) as one of those big boys exerting significant influence, holding positions of power, being a big fish in a big pond (forecast to be the biggest fish if/when we overtook Germany in GDP due to more favourable demographic changes in the U.K. vs the faster-aging Germany), and in a position to effect reform of the EU for within.

          But, ignoring the above, as an ex (as in now retired) businessman who spent much of his career negotiating 8 or 9 figure contracts I am extremely concerned by the May deal. Whatever happened to “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”? The deal enshrines the U.K. payment to the EU and other significant stuff as a legally binding commitment in return for some vaguely worded aspirations regarding a trade deal. We are giving away all our negotiating power. Stuff like “will reach an agreement on _whatever_” is meaningless. An agreement such as “The U.K. will be treated as a third country regarding _whatever_ and as such will have no special privileges” is an agreement so fulfills the political declaration. All those words in the political declaration mean diddly-squat (and come to think of it, what the hell does “diddly-squat” mean?).

          • Its clear May and the political class in general have no idea how to negotiate. The problem is they went through the process needing a deal which created a weakness. You never ever negotiate from a point of weakness, if you have a weakness you never expose it to the other party.

          • Agree with you Julian. Politicians exercising themselves with the divorce agreement when the real important document is the political declaration over the future relationship. It says didly squat about our future and it’s a travesty. Two and a half years and the government has achieved nothing!

    • My preference would be remaining in the EU but I’d settle for May’s agreement.

      Our economy will be hurt by leaving with no deal.

    • I’m in two minds.

      The whole thing is being sabotaged in part by the government themselves with this backstop preventing the UK doing it’s own competitive trade deals.

      Nigel Farage warned of this year’s ago if it was left to the Tories.

      As soon as the result was known there should have been an all party concencous and joint team dealing with it, including UKIP input which made the result possible in the first place.

      But the establishment cannot have that can they.

      So we end up with the situation where unelected civil servants in Downing Street circumvent the minister for brexit negotiating with another bunch of unelected bureaucrats on the EU side. Amazing.

      People need to realise democracy itself is dying in this country, with the supposed mother of all parliaments, when much if the house will NEVER vote through a deal no matter how good it is. Labour. SNP. Lib Dems. Parts of the Tory party.

      That despite over 400 constituencies voting leave.

      The very MPs representing their constituencies are ignoring what they voted for.

      This despite the house actually overwhelmingly voting in fabour in giving the vote to the electorate in the first place with the referendum. Irony.

      Mays deal.

      One paragraph states that the UK CANNOT conclude deals at a lower tarrif than the EU equivalent.

      So we can do FT deals just at the equal of what the EU already has.

      If this rest if the world trade is so meaningless as remainers say, despite it making up the bulk of our trade under WTO rules, then just WHY is the EU so worried? Supposed friends and allies? Don’t make me laugh.
      They do not want the UK to have a supposed advantage.

      Thus Mays deal fails her and Labour’s own manifesto and we would be tied to the EU until they agree otherwise. So that is not soveriegn.


      Having said that. Brexiteer MPs should be wary what they vote for, as much of Mays deal is fine, and we will probably end up with no brexit at all due to the scheming of the establishment and opposition parties playing party politics to get a chance of running the country.

      Another issue. May trumpeting that the deal gives the UK control of its borders.

      Even if it does the government of the time still need to act on it. Latest figure over 300,000 a year increase in the population. A year.

      That is 1.2 MILLION every 4 years.

      Now have a think why with an ageing population and that influx on top public services are falling apart and the roads are gridlocked. It is nuts.

      I have no belief WHATSOEVER that HMG have any interest in reducing immigration to acceptable sustainable levels.

      So Geoffrey in answer to your question and after that long moan, I’m undecided.

      It may well be the best we get unless it’s no deal in March.

      • Only two minds Daniele. I sometimes feel that my head is in a washing machine going round and round and every time I come up with the right answer (?) I go off somewhere else and doubt my decision.
        If only it were not so important but the future of my children and more particularly perhaps my grand children is coming down to a political punch up with every party trying to get one other for their own reasons.
        God only knows what’g going to happen if we drop out by accident and then have an election as well

        • Drop out by accident?

          You mean leave.

          Dressed up by remainers as a Hard Brexit.

          Anyone noticed how that terminology has now vanished, instead it is ” no deal” or a ” cliff edge”

          Both describe what the electorate by majority voted to do.


          As an independent self governing nation, remaining best of friends with European nations and with free trade deal with them and anyone we choose, on our terms, with policies to suit us.

          Apparently other world economies can do it without political union. A funny phenomena.

          If Parliament is now burned to the ground in the civil war coming I will not be surprised.

      • The quality of the BREXIT debate is more civilised and grown up on here than in Parliament or the mainstream media. I am reluctant leaver but everything that I have seen recently reaffirms my desire to leave the EU and the establishment bubble that exists across Europe.
        If the UK stays in the EU that will be end of democracy in the UK as we know it. We will have become just like those little countries that in the past have voted the wrong way but after some arm twisting then saw the light.
        The establishment in the UK had and has no intention of allowing the referendum result to stand and it is rather ironic that 100 years after the working man got a vote it still counts for little. Those poor sods in the trenches would recognise some of the language and character traits from our so called leaders.
        There has not been one politician able to articulate with balance what the issues really are and put forward a vision of where we might be in 10 years by staying in our out.
        Instead we get reports purported as some form of gospel that we will be X£Billion worse off if we do this or that depending on the leave scenario. The LSE and others are the same organisations along with the familiar multinationals who stated as fact how worse off we would all be if we didn’t join the Euro. Am I saying we will better off out of the EU well the answer is no but after 10 years who really knows.
        As for the politicians I always thought the Tories were a party of whose sole aim was to stay in power. But if they allow TM to remain as PM (sorry) they will be slaughtered at the next election as voters show their displeasure and we will have JC as PM.
        Of course when TM looses the vote next week then perhaps they will see sense and get a new leader.
        My preference was and still is a negotiated exit but not one that leaves the UK in some kind of half way house. The current deal is not right and will just fester more bad feeling and antipathy towards the EU in the future.
        There is therefore in my opinion an upcoming vacancy, which given the high calibre of those individuals on here should be feel ably qualified in applying for.

        • I quite like Mrs May, but she does seem to get stubborn over the wrong things. When her deal with the EU was first announced, many in her own party + the DUP pointed out the flaws. Had she sat down with them & figured out the minimum changes to get the deal through, & then gone back to the EU & said “99% is fine, but we need the odd word changed & an extra sentence on the backstop allowing the UK to leave the customs union on 12 months notice, or we won’t get the deal through”. Well the EU would not have been happy, but if the changes were minimal, they would probably, grudgingly, gone along with it. Instead, she has wasted several weeks & a lot of goodwill on most likely a lost cause.
          I will be surprised if she is still PM on New Year’s Eve.

          • Stubborn?

            John i would maintain it is by design.

            The whole thing is a big sham. The EU has been negotiating with itself, brexiteers like Davies have been sidelined.

            She knows exactly what she is doing.

          • DM
            Well she did undermine every Brexit Secretary by sending Olly Robbins behind their backs to agree to everything the EU elite wanted.

  7. Gibraltar is not entitled to any territorial waters because, other than the internal waters of the port, no waters were expressly ceded to Britain by Spain under the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. In addition, the neutral zone (the airport) was not ceded to Spain. We must understand that the rock belongs to England but the waters and the airport is Spanish.

      • a corvette? wow! that’s the weakest form of intimidation, childish, amateurish, pathetic ,a joke gesture from a nation that USED to be a great one, but is now a smaller maritime player than

    • yep, put a squadron of typhoons, a couple of challengers at the border crossing, a land ceptor, down by europa point a triple torpedo launcher on catalan beach, rapiers anywhere you can fit one, artillery in the old gun positions and tell the spanish, ‘come and have a go if you think your hard enough’ then put a t45 in the area.

  8. Nice reminder about the 2002 referendum – but you forgot to reference the 2016 Brexit one where 96% of the residents voted to stay in the EU. They seem a sensible lot who know a good deal when they have one – unlike some on this forum!

  9. At times we should have the same response as a certain Mr Putin. Fire at stop board and then arrest. We could then talk about it at a much later date when family members of the ship complain to there government. The hassle at the frontier would be worth it.

  10. Reminiscent of a 1960s Carry-On movie. I was looking for Sid James on the bridge and Barbara Windsor’s knickers as a courtesy flag!

  11. How does it work around freedom of movements and Gibraltars waters, is it really illegal for them to enter?

    If it is illegal, we need to find a way to arrest on of the vessels and make a huge press story about it, before releasing the crew after a few weeks.

    It’s just a question of how you do it, with risking a fire fight as the crew aim to protect themselves. Effectively you would need something like a massive show of force with the ship being surrounded by Apaches or similar.

      • I suspect a tug wouldn’t be able to chase it down before it escaped to international or Spanish waters and that’s the problem.

        I can’t really think of an effective way to actually achieve it, without risking a fire fight.

        The only option would be a huge show of force, creating an environment that the Spanish sailors wouldn’t risk resisting, but equally they would know we wouldn’t dare shoot on them and so would just sail out.

        I guess some divers to take out the propellers and then tugs to push them into place, but a bit of a risk.

        • No one wants war with Spain, we just need to find a way to make it clear that they can’t play silly git in our waters, without having consequences.

          • Who said I wanted war with Spain? But you think a show of force would change their mind? I think the Spanish ministry of defence has the internet and perhaps even a subscription to Jane’s they no how much force we have.

            How fast do you think ships are going around Gib and into the bay?

            Go look at a map.

            Good grief this place is bonkers.

          • The war comment wasn’t directed at you, I just meant to in general.

            I agree that a show of force alone won’t work, which is why I am suggesting finding a way to arrest the Spanish vessel and make a big news story around it. You know the trick, leaked videos of Spanish sailors being marched off their ship, official statments that suggest that we might charge them and put through the courts/ jail, just lots of stuff that will embarrash Spain enough for them to think twice before trying it again.

            The trick is doing it without causing a fire fight or serious damage to the Spanish ship. They might not be going fast but they would speed up if they thought we were going to take their ship.

    • Ultimomono
      Haznos un favor a todos y vete con tu república catalana a Waterloo, o mejor a London. Allí seguro que te reciben con los brazos abiertos. Aquí ya nos sobran idiotas.

      • viva catalonia! the spaniards have never won a conflict with us and never will.spain is as relevant as the french were under napoleon. spain is a place with beaches, awul toilets,crap food,flea ridden hotels, why do people want to go there when they could go to blackpool?

      • Ultimonomo, Our Spanish troll is telling you to take your Catalan friends to Waterloo (an English victory, a bit odd, but then so are most of his posts), or preferably to London where you will be welcomed as idiots.
        What a nice message from another person who doesn’t believe in democracy.

  12. Just wait until darkness, and sail into their ports with five or six canoes and a handful of men.

    That’ll soon sort them out. Tugs are far too Russian.

  13. How about just making it a little more difficult for Spanish trawlers in UK waters with plenty of Fishery Protection inspections and impounding vessels for minor infringements. I am sure we can find a few subtle measures without resorting to silly shows of force and we will soon have a few more OPVs. After all we will only be enforcing EU fishery policy.

  14. To estoy for this

    Spain Will do better waiting 20 years.
    Gibraltar Will vote yo be spanish after the UKs economy os destroyed by the Brexit.

    Anyway Royal Navy and their carriers running Windows Will not be a menace at that time.

  15. With May capitulating to every EU demand it is not surprising that countries think they can wipe their feet on the Union Jack without consequence. Maybe the wisdom of allowing the UK defence industry capability whither will be re-assessed. Could start with the 600 +/- Ajax APC’s being built in Spain with Swedish steel is a goo place to start.

  16. @ Levi Goldsteinberg

    Tell me what exactly a Type 23 would do in the waters of Gibraltar? Poop off a few rounds from the Mk8? What about the civilian shipping and indeed civilians on shore? Fire off a Harpoon? How does a T23 manoeuvre in Gib’s small and very congested territorial waters? Why do you want to risk damage to an expensive escort?

    If you want to do something put a tug in the way of the offender……

  17. The response to the armed Spanish vessel entering sovereign yet disputed UK territory without prior authorization. Should have been the same as the Russian response to the armed Ukrainian patrol ships entering Russian territorial waters without prior authorization.
    Which was the following:
    1. Verbal warning to turn back by both speaker and radio.
    2. Firing of warning shot across the bow in case persistence.
    3. Final warning to heave to and be boarded.
    4. If continued non-compliance fire to wound/disable and repeat the order to heave to.
    5. Use the last resort due to ongoing noncompliance. That would be SINK them.
    Sovereignty is amongst other things defined as clear and consistent police power over a area of land, sea, or air. Allowing any instrument of the Spanish State to complete a patrol is threat to UK sovereignty not just there but in any of the Overseas Territories or even the British Isles and any where there is a possible territorial dispute now or in the future.

    Has this been a foreign ship in either American, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, or even Brazilian waters the result would have been from them above process. A country is not sovereign unless it is willing to act as a sovereign nation.

    • We are never going to actually fire on one of the Spanish vessels, that is clearly a non starter, that would effectively be starting a war with Spain and there are too many negative consequences to that, especially for the millions of Brits that go to Spain every summer.

      The issue is not May being weak or brexit or anything else, it’s as simple as spain know they can get away with it and the Spanish people think it’s fine to do it. The problem is they can and there really isn’t a lot we can do about it other than complain constantly to the Spanish embassy, who probably are used to it by now.

      • And yet Elliott is correct. Borders. Law. Rules. Nothing seems to matter any more in these days of wanting open borders no rules and thus no responsibility either.

        At the same time coming to that between supposed European allies seems unthinkable which is why I usually suggest downplaying the issue.

      • Steve
        Under the universally accepted conventions of war (see Law of Armed Conflict) the Act of War was done by the Spanish. Provided the above process was followed, any act after 4 as described above (really after 3 shooting to wound/disable is considered a courtesy) would be legally defined as a Act of Defense of Territorial Integrity. The only one perpetuating an act of war would be the Spanish.

        As for millions of Brits vacationing there? Spain must learn they are not the only cheap country with a beach. Plenty of countries qualify for that distinction. So their is plenty that could be done about it:
        Several cities and therefore the countrries in which they reside to use an old phrase have “all the money in the world” or at least all the money that gets loaned to anyone. London is one such city therefore have the government lean on the credit agencies and banking sector (they did recive a bailout worth several hundred billion ££ not so long ago) completely ruin any chance of Spanish economic recovery.
        Have the Foreign Secretary call President Trump on the phone and ask him what his price would be to have America and her other allies throw their weight behind the UK at the IMF (it wouldn’t be much anything to hurt the EU he views as good) to ruin any other line of credit. Turn the screws on Spain till they cry for mercy before the angry mobs come to drag them from office. If Germany tries to bail them out go after Deutsche Bank, which only avoided criminal prosecution in United States and Britain out of diplomatic concerns. The German government cannot given current domestic issues bailout that large a bank without gutting social spending.
        If the EU tries to interfere by having another Europe wide bailout or by sanctioning the British economy?
        Unilaterally suspend all payments to the EU on the grounds of EU failure to live up to treaties recognizing territorial integrity. Then call in the Greek’s loans triggering economic collapse.
        Theresa May and David Cameron to a lesser extent before her mistake is never negotiate from a position of weakness. Especially when you are strong while they are weak and absolutely never let people you loan or pay vast sums of money to dictate terms.
        The negotiating tactics should have been something like:
        EU: We want a divorce settlement.
        UK: Take it out of what we paid you for decades and the jobs you stole by ignoring your own laws. As a matter of fact Germany don’t you still owe the UK, Poland, the Czech Republic and damn near every other country in Europe war reparations with interest? So pay us money or piss off.
        Another issue:
        EU:We are concerned about the Irish border. We won’t sign off without it being addressed.
        UK:Make an issue of it and we recognize Catalonia and announce support for another referendum in Belgium on breaking up and we will fund the secessionists campaign. Every little pissant separatist movement would be recognized and supported with cold hard cash. So do not ever bring up internal matters again unless you want your internal matters to be suddenly very “interesting”. Throw a little aside to Ireland that Northern Ireland is not in fact a part of the Republic of Ireland and any more interference diplomatic or otherwise would be treated as a hostile act and responded to as such.
        EU: You can’t pick and choose the benefits of membership while leaving.
        UK: Sure we can that’s called capitalism. Give us what we want or we will take our money elsewhere.
        EU: We want continued defense ties and military exercises continued throughout transition period.
        UK: No. Also any country expecting defense from Russia can consider any mutual defense clause null and void if they continue to side against the UK in negotiations or do not meet their defense spending obligations. They can not have someone defend them and pick their pocket while they are doing it. Settle the deal then we will talk NOT before.
        In short the European governments keep saying Britain is being difficult. Show them what difficult really means.

        • And in opposition to that. We have the modern generation of plastic British politician.

          I despair at my country, the elite running it, and the sheep within it.

        • Frankly Elliott it is a long time since I have seen such a Gish Gallop of deranged nonsense then what you have written there. I can’t even be bothered to rebut it point by point it is so crazy.

          To go to your earlier idea, let me be blunt, 48hrs after option 5) Spanish Marine Commandos would be completing their capture of all key Government buildings and facilities on Gibraltar whilst their tanks sit on the Runway and ships in the harbour. There would be nothing that the Police or limited number of British troops could do about it.

          Petty acts like running a Corvette through Gibraltar water might grind your gears and only further exacerbate your anti EU paranoia Elliott but in the end it is a harmless waste of Spanish fuel. What you propose would be music to the Spanish Governments ears, actually sinking a Spanish navy vessel with possible loss of life opens Pandora’s box! The Spanish public would demand retribution and put simply the Rock is not defensible. Put aside any boys own adventures of some Gorilla war in the tunnels, if Spain wanted to take Gibraltar by force they could.

          Take a giant chill pill!

          • “Spanish Marine Commandos” – Forgive me while I laugh hysterically. The Spanish military set a land speed record pulling out of Iraq when they turned coward after one terrorist attack. They are all bark and no bite.
            Besides even if they wanted to be violent they couldn’t. Just look at their readiness. Recently they tried to sell off some of their tanks and they were found to be in so bad a condition due to maintenance they would need complete factory rebuild so they couldn’t even give them away.
            Their submarine force is ancient while the new ones they are building can’t even submerge.
            Their FFGs are good they but are totally reliant on American spare parts, technology, and missiles.
            Their Air Force has a readiness rate equivalent to Germany. Meaning total failure.
            As for their being nothing that British forces could do about it? Oh Spain could take the rock and then they could pay the price. Spain would still have been the power that violated territorial integrity. So trigger the defense clause of NATO if they attempt to escalate things by seizing the Rock. Then begin dropping bombs and cruise missiles and have the Astutes sink the rest of their fleet. Seize the Canary Islands. Then tell Spain if they ever want to see those 2.1 million of their citizens on those islands under their control ever again, they had better evacuate Gibraltar immediately. Have those cruise missiles blow away the power stations critical to the power grid for maximum effect. Make the people who they were trying to score political points with live without a modern electric grid.
            Unless you are willing to protect what is yours why spend money on defense? Further if you are unwilling to protect what is yours you do not deserve anything you have.

  18. Thanks to all who replied to my Brexit post. AS sjb says…better standard of discussion here I think.
    In an ideal world we would never have had the referendum, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.
    I voted to remain too but as the time has moved on I started to look at the idea of being outside and I have to say it does appeal for lots of reasons, a good number of which are in the withdrawal agreement. I certainly don’t want to crash out but going back for a so called people’s vote would cause chaos.
    Once we have the contents of the agreement under our belt who is to say we can’t negotiate hard for the rest and in any case once we are on the outside who’s to stop us unilaterally turning down policies we don’t agree with.

    • “once we are on the outside who’s to stop us unilaterally turning down policies we don’t agree with.”

      The Backstop.

      I will take the minor chaos of a Peoples vote over the major national damage that is a No Deal Brexit or permanent Backstop!

      • Accept Fedaykin we had a people’s vote in 2016. The chaos since has been caused by an establishment determined to keep us in. The damage done to our democracy by ignoring the result will be enormous and could see JC become our PM as your average BRIT punishes a party that ignored its instructions. Yes both Tory and Labour voters were in the remain and leave camps but the Torys had a duty to deliver the result of the referendum.
        I do agree that we have a deal in front of parliament that with no unilateral or time limit to the backstop is totally unacceptable but that really just tells us all how weak our Government has been in these negotiations. In my opinion to see something like this through you need to be committed to the end result and that is obviously not the case. The number of ministerial resignations tells the real story.
        As for the impact of a no deal BREXIT. That will be nothing compared to the results if JC is elected and the city and big business feel the chill wind of a far left socialist in power.
        How much better for the UK and EU to have been robust from the start of those negotiations instead of the slow but sure backsliding from those red lines, which we have clearly witnessed.

        • lets get to the point, brexit was never about those who voted for it.the whole issue has been made into a business issue, when was the last time anybody mentioned the man in the street?

          • Sadly Andy is right.

            The EU and the NWO is all about business. Big business importing cheap labour. Just look at Soros.

            Identity. Pride. Nationhood. It is all going to the wall.

  19. Spanish only did this because they planned their usual standard operating procedure to hassle warships visiting Gibraltar. But they were all asleep having a siesta when HMS Astute arrived.
    This is a ‘better late than never’ face-saving exercise by the Spanish navy 😆

  20. She looks like a hunk of junk. I wouldn’t be surprised if she might “accidentally” sink whilst sailing through Gibralatar waters. It might be safer keeping her on the Spanish side of the border just in case the crew need urgent rescue, 🙂

  21. Guy’s we should just blast out the Benny Hill theme tune the next time. The only war they’ve won in the last 300 years was the Spanish civil war ! They’re Spain. Don’t take them seriously. No one else does.

  22. An OPV off the starboard side paired with a few RHIB’s loaded with a dozen or two RM’s as a boarding party would put the wind up them… Never going to happen mind!

    As another poster commented. It’d be much more appropriate to increase boarding parties on Spanish fishing vessels within UK territorial waters under the EU CFP… start impounding vessels for minor infractions and see what gets said… Or done.

    • It would result in Spain doing the reverse, followed by France and a number of other countries. Considering the UK has the largest fleet of large fishing vessels in Europe, we would be doing more damage to ourselves than them.

        • Not really. There is a myth around the fishing stats. Unless i read it wrongly, the amount we fish in other EU waters, outweighs (or is roughly the same depending on the stats) the amount they fish in ours, plus most of our fish gets sold into Europe, which they will find harder post brexit. A little extra caught offset by reduced market to sell.

          People get confused about the days of massive over fishing and the huge British industry and the need to cut back or risk the fishing dying for good and the EU coming into place. Yes EU is partially responsible for the decline in the industry but it’s is vastly vasty outweighed by the damage our own fisherman did.

          Brexit is not a silver bullet, it’s not going to suddenly fix things.

          • I’ve never understood why anyone assumed it would be silver bullet. I didn’t expect it to be. In fact I fully expected it stutter our economy, and frankly I don’t care one bit if it does. I didn’t vote leave to get richer, I voted leave to return sovereignty to parliament and move away from the ever increasing union that the Eu is seeing. In 10-15 years from now it will be impossible to leave the EU… You watch the Bureaucrats make sure of it post Brexit. 30 years too late in my opinion.

          • Who knows on the overall brexit, and reality is we will probably never really know as impact will take decades to work out and over that time the world’s economy would have peaked and burned, impossible to tell at that point if breixt was bad or good, just personal opinion.

            Fishing is easier, since we have the stats of amount of fish caught by British fisherman and amount by rest of EU and we have the stats on where the fish is sold by volume of fish.

            Rest of ecomoney is far to complex to model.

          • Steve, the stats don’t quite say that. We have the 2/3 biggest fleet tonnage wise, although we are 5th in the amount of vessels. That is predominantly due to the nature of our fishing and the environment. It’s a whole lot different in the Atlantic off the Hebrides than it is around the Greek islands in the med.
            Don’t believe all of you read about fish stocks either. Our fisheries have been very vigorously policed and offenders prosecuted.
            When you look around any large chain supermarket anywhere in France or Spain, as I do frequently, you will find illegal sized fish everywhere, openly on display.
            That said there are some really conciencious groups in France that are trying to preserve fish stocks. We are a massive nett exported of fish, both caught and farmed.

      • Steve seriously. When we joined the CFP we had access to Icelandic waters and our quotas in UK waters were set accordingly. Then the cod wars happened and we lost all access to Icelandic waters. But the rest of the EU refused to adjust our quotas accordingly. Result they’ve been butt flipping our fishing industry ever since. Why do you think Petit Macron is so upset about it ? Because our fishing industry is going to lose out ?

        • Check fishing stats on amount fished and by who and where it’s sold to, takes 2mins of Google time, and come back to me on that .

          Don’t blindly believe what the fisherman are stating or what the pro brexitors are stating, as both have their own vested interest and both have been proved to have lied multiple times

  23. Hi folks, can we seek advice from Jeremy Corbyn on what to do? He may want to hand over Gib to Spain, who then can lease a port to the Russian navy when it wants to have to be refueling warships back and forth in the Med.

  24. I’m sticking with my previous positions on this subject:

    Steel cabled torp nets, closely guarded entrance channel, and a BAD attitude…


  25. United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982.
    Spain Ratified it. And that super-cedes Utrecht.
    Spain can Complain and make declarations all they want, but Articles 309 and 310 of the Convention state that “No reservations or exceptions may be made to this Convention unless expressly permitted by other articles of this Convention”, and that if a signatory state makes a declaration upon ratification, that declaration must “not purport to exclude or to modify the legal effect of the provisions of this Convention in their application” to that state.

    Spain ratified it. Spain is stuck with it. Sorry but there you are. Perhaps you should ask Spains Politicians if they read UNCLOS before actually signing it. LOL!

  26. We need to be mature & sensible about this.

    Let’s suppose, hypothetically(!!!), we were to take on this small Spanish corvette. It has as much firepower as our own warships. Its Harpoons & 76mm rapid fire could do as much damage to any of our frigates or destroyers & would take out any of our River class in an instant, but it would be madness to bring it to that level. It just goes to show how sort we are of warships that we can’t spare 1 or 2 for another commitment, let alone lose any. The Russians succeeded in taking the 3 small Ukrainian vessels backed-up by loitering strike aircraft & helicopters, amounting to overwhelming force. If Spain wants to behave disgracefully(& hypocritically-Ceuta & Melila which Morocco wants back) we should be restrained & use diplomatic & civil avenues to express our displeasure. Neither Spain or ourselves have much to gain by rising to the bait.

  27. not a simple situation to resolve. The Spanish by using a warship will circumvent all the ususl regulations affecting safe navigation, port state regulations and the UNCLOS caveats thst allow forign vessels in territorial eaters to be boarded. This the issue of a government vessel entering anothers waters is purely a diplomatic matter. Any planned action using each others armed forces to enforce a diplomatic issue is a very dangerous path to travel. This why both Argentina using cover of scrap merchants in south Georgia and Russia using disguised military in Ukraine were effectively testing the water for diplomatic consquences before starting full scale incursions. I believe the way to play this is increase the military use of the port, which seems to be happening, this putting pressure on Spain to make a mistake. The mistake will then give leverage to setting effective rules under the likes of NATO bi lateral partner agreements, but more importantly will allow Spain to lose significant face on the world stage. Spain would be most miffed if the use of Rota was affected as a consequence of breaching future ruled etc.

  28. I am sick and tired of a so called NATO partner taking the proverbial piss out of this country. When the hell are we ever going to man up over Gibraltar? The people there must despair when this government continually allows the poxy spanish to invade our waters with impunity. Russia doesn’t but these arseholes. When are we ever going to grow a pair over this and the Falklands? Sovereignty is not on the table and that is the ONLY agenda on the table for these people. Stick a bloody minehunter there or at least something more threatening than a souped up dinghy manned by students.
    It’s highly embarrassing to say the least. Stand up UK, we have gone to war for less.

  29. A minehunter or frigate would not make an ounce of difference. Not a single UK or friendly warship has been diverted, stopped or in any way impeded in its transit by the Spanish, they are ignored. If they want to parade around the boundary playing music they are the embarrassment. We should not rise to the hype. I don’t see any embarrassment on the UK side, certainly the RN aren’t concerned.

  30. Don’t worry our considered & proportionate response is in hand. We have dispatched 12 squaddies on a banana boat with a tape of spice up your life.


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