Royal Navy boat chases Spanish police boat out of Gibraltar’s waters in tense stand-off | World | News
The Spanish police had identified a Zodiac inflatable which they believed was being used to smuggle cigarettes. Unconfirmed reports from Spain say that the MoD vessel had hit the Spanish police boat.
The tense stand-off was caught on camera and following a search of the boat, there was no evidence of wrongdoing by those on board the Zodiac.
The Spanish media have claimed the Royal Navy and the Gibraltar Customs officials were “harassing” the Civil Guard, with the media adding the events took pace in “Spanish waters Gibraltar claims sovereignty over”.
Spanish government officials and the Civil Guard have yet to make a comment on the matter.
This is not the first time that an event like this has occurred between the Royal Navy and Spanish vessels, as the Royal Navy removed Spanish police vessel from the Bay of Gibraltar in January this year.
The HMS Dasher and a Royal Navy RHIB were both sent in to deal with the matter.
Speaking about the incident in January, a Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesman said: “We have no doubt about UK sovereignty over British Gibraltar Territorial Waters and protest incursions from the Spanish authorities.”
The UK Government had made a comment £36million pounds contract would be given to Marine Specialised Technology for 18 new police patrol craft for the MOD and Gibraltar Defence Police (GDP) Forces.
Speaking at the time of this announcement, Defence Minister Baroness Goldie said: “This £36million investment allows our MoD Police and Gibraltar Defence Police Forces to enhance the vital security service they provide to our military bases at home and overseas.
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“Designed and constructed by maritime experts in the UK, this contract reaffirms our commitment to invest in homegrown industry knowledge and support the protection and creation of skilled jobs.”
The Ministry of Defence is preparing a new patrol boat for the Gibraltar waters, called the HMS Cutlass.
Admiral Tony Radakin, the First Sea Lord had tweeted the boat being put through its paces on Twitter, saying: “Impressive to see HMS Cutlass which will soon join the @RNGibSqn, going through her paces achieving 41kts in Liverpool.”
Figures for the year of 2020 showed that incursions by Spanish vessels into Gibraltar waters was somewhat of a regular occurrence in that year.
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The total number of Spanish incursions for the year 2020 was 830 in that year alone.
These figures were not recognised by Spain as they argue that sea and airspace restrictions were not included in the Treaty of Utrecht which gave Britain sovereignty over Gibraltar in 1713.
However, the British Armed Forces Strategic Command said its figures were based on “incursions” into the “British Territorial Waters of Gibraltar”, and were identified between January 1 and December 31 2020.
Spain had caused the UK to be on edge with an announcement which saw a promise by Spain to regain sovereignty of Gibraltar.
Then-Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister Arancha González Laya had emphasised that their country had not sovereignty” nor the “co-sovereignty” of Gibraltar after Brexit.
Additional reporting by Natalia Penza.