Skirmish increases Gibraltar tension

Tensions in and around Gibraltar have increased over recent months.

The interception of smugglers by the Guardia Civil Maritime Service (SMGC) has provoked an intervention by the Royal Police Gibraltar (RPG).


Gibraltarian authorities deny any “physical contact” between the two forces.

The incident started when a SMGC boat intercepted a light craft, in the bay of Algeciras, which was found to be smuggling around 250 packets of cigarettes; they stopped the boat, detained the crew and piloted the craft themselves.

When they were on their way back to the Spanish port of La Linea the RPG arrived and, apparently, rammed the light craft twice. They asked the SMGC to stop as they were in Gibraltarian waters.

Finally the situation calmed down but not without both sides calling for backup; one boat arrived on the side of the SMGC and two patrol boats to back up the RPG.

The government of Gibraltar has assured press that the incident took place in Gibraltarian waters and that the SMGC had no jurisdiction there; they also denied any “ramming” of the light craft.

The Spanish government has asked for more clarification on the exact actions taken by both sides as they feel that the SMGC acted correctly in Spanish waters.

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