The USS Seawolf is currently visiting the British territory of Gibraltar.

In 2018, the USS Newport News, a Los Angeles class submarine, was harassed by Spanish vessels while visiting Gibraltar.

Local media reported 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:

“Officials at the MoD and The Convent were looking into the incident last night to establish the sequence of events and assess what happened and where. 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.”

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.

There have been no reports of this happening this time, however.

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How does it make any sense for the Spanish to hassle a US sub?


It doesn’t.

Which begs the question what Madrid are playing at? I can understand them giving RN surface vessels a hard time, but submarines especially USN submarines, SSBN’s included, strikes me as pushing your luck somewhat. Why would Madrid wind up the US? It does not make any sense at all… If they damaged a US sub or even a RN sub would be a serious diplomatic issue.

Makes no sense at all.

Cheers CR

Squirrel Nutkins

One wonders if Madrid is fully in command and control of certain areas of its defence, maybe rogue elements in its Navy trying to stoke up anti UK/Gibraltar feeling. Rogue ships commanders playing silly buggers.


One wonders just what the Seawolf is up to. It’s home port is in Puget Sound, Washington State and it was recently spotted in Norway as well off of the coast of Scotland. Moreover, the US maintains a large naval presence at Rota, Spain, approximately 150 kms from Gibraltar.

Supportive Bloke

Working on something with UK & Norway?

Just idle speculation!


Probably conducting ISR ops in the far North……


Does Rota have Z Berths? I’m sure the main reason is Gibraltar’s the only facility in the region capable of hosting nuclear subs.


Rota has been a US Navy base for decades and US subs have used its facilities for decades. And the US only has nuclear subs. The USS Scorpion was enroute to Rota when it disappeared.

Steve Salt

Wasn’t it on route to Norfolk outbound from Rota?


Yes. Scorpion departed Rota on April 28, 1968. I misremembered as George Bush would have said.


Creepy, old Joe Biden will stop these visits because it doesn’t want to offend Spain. Ugh

Meirion X

Fake News! The new incoming SoD Gen. Lloyd Austin, a safe pair of hands, will very Unlikely end USN visits to Gibr.