Royal Navy called in after Spanish Civil Guard boat invades British waters
Royal Navy called in after Spanish Civil Guard boat invades British waters off coast of Gibraltar and ignores orders to leave
By Gerard Couzens
- Two Royal Navy vessels called after Civil Guard boat enters British waters
- Boat entered area off coast of Rock chasing suspected cigarette smugglers
- Royal Gibraltar Police patrol issued warning for it to leave but was ignored
- Resulting argument ended with Spanish Civil Guard suffering neck injuries
- Spain claims smugglers' boat was rammed while piloted by Civil Guard
- But Royal Gibraltar Police deny any physical contact was made with vessel
Published: 16:14 GMT, 25 April 2014 | Updated: 16:32 GMT, 25 April 2014
Spain is facing another formal complaint over Gibraltar after its police invaded British waters off the Rock to arrest three suspected cigarette smugglers.
Two Royal Navy vessels were called in after a Civil Guard boat ignored a Royal Gibraltar Police patrol’s warnings to leave the area.
A spat between the two sides - around midday yesterday- ended with a Spanish officer suffering back and neck injuries.
Dispute: Two Royal Navy vessels were called to Gibraltar after a Civil Guard boat ignored a warning from a Royal Gibraltar Police patrol (pictured) to leave the area
The Guardia Civil today claimed the Royal Gibraltar Police vessel had rammed the suspected smugglers’ boat as it was piloted to a Spanish port by the injured Civil Guard.
A Royal Gibraltar police spokesman said there had been a verbal exchange but denied any contact with the Spanish Civil Guard vessel or the suspected smugglers’ boat.
The latest incident came just a day after a Spanish Navy ship invaded British waters around the Rock. The Royal Navy’s HMS Scimitar ordered the vessel out of the area in a tense radio exchange.
Britain is expected to file a formal complaint to Spain over both incursions.
Anger: The Foreign Office is expected to make another complaint to Spain's Ambassador to the UK, Federico Trillo (pictured), over the incursions
The Foreign Office summoned Spain’s Ambassador to the UK at the start of the month after a research vessel unlawfully entered British waters off Gibraltar.
Foreign Office officials later revealed Spain has made almost 600 illegal incursions in just 14 months.
It prompted MPs to demand a Royal Navy frigate be permanently based in Gibraltar as a deterrent.
Gibraltarians who want London to get tougher with Madrid last night called for Spanish boats that disobey maritime law to be sunk.
A group which pens online newsletter Gibraltar Messenger wrote: 'Gibraltar needs to have its own special boat squadron and to warn Madrid that it considers any incursion an act of war and aggression, and the next time it occurs they will be fired upon, and if necessary arrested or sunk.'
'The incursions into British Gibraltar’s territorial waters by Spanish military, customs and other vessels of the state are under international maritime law an act of war and need to be treated as acts of war,' the group added.
Gibraltar claims three nautical miles around the Rock as its own.
Spain insists the waters outside of Gibraltar’s port belong to them.
The wisdom of the ancients has been taught by the philosophers of Greece, but also by people called Jews in Syria, and by Brahmins in India
-Megasthenes, Greek Ambassador to India, 300 BC
Why is it that on June 4th 1967 I was a Jordanian and overnight I became a Palestinian? - Walid Shoebat, PLO terrorist