Spanish ship’s ‘dangerous’ incursion into Gibraltar waters provokes angry response

Europa Point, Gibraltar

THERE was a tussle between a Spanish research vessel and Royal Navy speedboat in the British waters around Gibraltar on Friday (July 3). The Navy says that the survey ship hit the smaller boat with a probe, as the British craft tried to stop the other from taking readings.

The incident took place in the Bay of Gibraltar and the waters around Europa Point.

The British government has registered a diplomatic protest over the incident, the incursion described as “dangerous” and “unacceptable.” Crew on the Spanish ship, the Angeles Alvariño, reportedly dropped a sample probe which hit the Navy’s rigid inflatable hulled speedboat. A spokesperson for the Convent said: “It is very fortunate that no-one was hurt and no serious damage was done.”

Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said he believed the incident was politicised, “orchestrated and applauded at the highest political levels of the current Spanish Government in pursuit of their claim to the sovereignty of our waters.”

He also stated his outrage that the incursion took place at a time when the Royal Navy crews scrambled in response to the Angeles Alvariño’s activities, should have been participating in a ceremony to pay respect to the victims of the terrorist attack in Tunisia.

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