A SPANISH armoured patrol boat ordered commercial vessels to leave Spanish territorial waters, the Gibraltar government claimed.
“You are violating the right to innocent passage,” they were told, although they were in British waters.
In a recording of the exchange, a crew member aboard one of the boats can be heard pointing this out to the Tornado, the Spanish vessel.
“We are not adrift, we are at anchor now,” he says.
The ships, Ivor Accord and Great Victor, were told to remain where they were by the Gibraltar Port Authority and a Gibraltar government statement announced that the Royal Navy deployed a launch and a rigid-hulled inflatable boat to the scene.
After being challenged by the Royal Navy, the Spanish warship “sailed slowly along the Gibraltar coast” with its weapons uncovered and manned, the statement continued.
“There is only nuisance value to these foolish games played by those who don’t accept unimpeachable British sovereignty over the waters around the Gibraltar,” a Gibraltar government spokesman said afterwards.
“It seems there are still some in the Spanish Navy who think they can flout international law,” he added.