BRITAIN’S ambassador to Spain has said the country will file a complaint over a Spanish naval ship that sailed through Gibraltarian waters while playing the Spanish national anthem.
Simon Manley said the complaint was due to the Spanish Navy’s Infanta Elena straying into Gibraltarian waters without permission, and not because it played the Marcha Real.
“We will send a diplomatic complaint in the next days over the ship’s incursion into these waters,” Manley told Spanish media.
British diplomatic sources said such incidents were not uncommon and that complaints were always filed after they took place.
The complaint follows the posting of a video to Twitter which appears to show the Spanish ship playing the anthem while sailing past Gibraltar.
Nicholas Karnani, who uploaded the video, said the incident was an “invasion” of Gibraltarian waters.
@foreignoffice @HMGoG_MIP enough is enough it may not undermine sovereignty for the UK,but for as Gibralterians it’s an invasion of BGTW.The UK Government must take action in defence of it’s people. pic.twitter.com/QNGKpCjXKw
— Nicholas Karnani🎗🎗🎗🇬🇧🇬🇮🇬🇧🇬🇮🇬🇧🇬🇮🇬🇧 (@Atajate71) December 4, 2018
Spain’s Defence Chief of Staff said the ship was in the Strait of Gibraltar for a maritime surveillance mission.
It added the ship was in Spanish territorial waters at all times. Spain maintains that the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht which ceded Gibraltar to Britain only covers the city, landmass and structures on it and not the surrounding waters.
Other military sources said the incident came in response to allegations that the British national anthem God Save the Queen was played over a shipping emergency radio channel.
The incidents follow increasing tensions between Spain and Britain over the latter’s enclave.
The spat saw Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez threaten to veto his British opposite number Theresa May’s Brexit deal over arrangements for Gibraltar. The dispute was later resolved.