IN the early hours of the morning of January 22 whilst carrying out a routine patrol in Gibraltar territorial waters, officers from the Customs Marine Section engaged in a chase of a suspect vessel loaded with tobacco.
The small speedboat approximately 5.5 metres in length, made numerous evasive manoeuvres before HMC Tango 1 was able to intercept it.
Two other suspect vessels believed to be involved in illicit tobacco activity tried to assist the small speedboat to make its escape and the occupants were able to escape by land.
When customs officers confiscated and boarded the small speedboat, the other two vessels rammed it and attacked the officers, hitting an officer on the shoulder.
An individual on one of the vessels then threatened the officers, making comments about a weapon and acting as if he had a firearm by pointing both his hands towards them.
The two suspect vessels then attempted to ram HMC Seeker and HMC Tango 1, causing both suspect vessels to collide and one of the individuals to fall overboard.
The suspects managed to retrieve the individual from the water and made their escape into Spain but customs officers managed to retain 1,500 cartons of cigarettes and paraphernalia related to tobacco smuggling.