THE GIBRALTAR and British governments have taken very seriously allegations that the Spanish Customs Vessel SVA Aguila IV fired four shots at a local vessel fishing inside Gibraltar Territorial Waters last weekend.
A government statement indicated that the Spanish vessel ordered the pleasure boat to stop its engines and then opened fire when the orders were not followed. The Spanish customs officers attempted to board the vessel, and allegedly threw bricks at the local fishermen whilst they were taking action to evade the Spanish vessel.
The Gibraltarian fishermen contacted the Royal Gibraltar Police who sent the Command Vessel the Sir Adrian Johns to investigate and when it arrived, members of the RGP boarded the pleasure craft and escorted it back to the Marine Station at Gun Wharf.
The Chief Minister Fabian Picardo says this is the third incident involving the SVA in as many weeks, and represents an extremely serious escalation of the repeated Spanish violations of Gibraltar Waters. He says the Spanish authorities have put the lives of innocent Gibraltarian civilians at risk and these are criminal offences in Gibraltar.
The Foreign Office says it has protested the incursion to the Spanish government “at a high level,” adding it has also raised its “extreme concern” over the reported interaction between the Spanish and Gibraltarian vessels. The FCO adds it takes seriously any reports of attempts by Spanish law enforcement agencies to interfere with vessels in British Gibraltar Territorial Waters.