THE British Ambassador to Spain, Simon Manley was summoned to the Spanish Foreign Ministry on Monday, July 11, following an incident which took place the previous Friday between a vessel operated by the Royal Gibraltar Police (RGP) and the Guardia Civil.
According to the Spanish version of events, the RGP vessel approach the Guardia Civil boat, which was innocently heading towards La Linea, without any warning and created a wave which allegedly almost capsized the Spanish boat.
This was described in a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry as being “A reckless manoeuvre that has been conducted twice, seriously threatened the safety of both vessels and their crews.”
The statement went on to advise that the acting State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Ignacio Ybanez has demanded that Ambassador Manley prevent such incidents in future.
The Gibraltarian version, supported by the UK Government is unsurprisingly somewhat different, and the Government of Gibraltar issued the following statement on the afternoon of July 11;
“It is incredible that Spain has summoned the UK Ambassador to Madrid in respect of an incident at sea which took place within British Gibraltar Territorial Waters.
The Spanish Government has no jurisdiction in BGTW and must cease to defy UK sovereignty in the waters around Gibraltar by patrolling within them.
There have been complaints for many years at the dangerous and cavalier manner in which
Spanish state assets have operated in and around BGTW. Indeed, few weeks ago one such vessel came within 600 yards of a US nuclear submarine in an irresponsible direct bee-line approach at speed.
The Government fully supports the Royal Gibraltar Police and all our other agencies in their actions to uphold the law in British waters.”
In a separate statement, the RGP said that it rejected the Spanish version of events, saying the incident took place just 150 metres off Catalan Bay, and that the RGP vessel took a video of events which totally exonerate its crew and also recorded the fact that it attempted to make contact with the Spanish vessel to establish their intentions.