HMS Scimitar intercepted the Infanata Elena yesterday morning and forced the corvette away from British waters off Gibraltar.
A spokesman said:
“We can confirm that a Spanish Navy vessel incurred in British Gibraltar Territorial Waters on November 7.
The Royal Navy challenges all maritime incursions in BGTW and did so again on this occasion. We will be protesting to the Spanish authorities.”
HMS Scimitar is a Scimitar class fast patrol boat. She was acquired to serve with the Gibraltar Squadron, tasked with policing, customs and search and rescue duties. This released an Archer-class patrol vessel for tasking with the Cyprus Squadron.
Scimitar was involved in a diplomatic incident between the United Kingdom and Spain in November 2009 after being alleged by the Spanish to have been using the Spanish flag as a target during gunnery practice. The Ministry of Defence stated that the ship had actually been shooting at a NATO maritime signal flag, which is similar in appearance.
In May 2011 Scimitar was dispatched to intercept the Spanish Serviola-class patrol boat Atalaya when she entered British waters (claimed by Spanish) around Gibraltar and ordered ships to leave the area.
The Scimitar took part in another encounter with a Spanish naval vessel in April 2017. It challenged the Infanta Cristina, a Descubierta class corvette that had entered British waters (claimed by Spanish) off of Gibraltar. The Infanta Cristina left without further incident.