Gibraltar criticises Spanish police dive

Rock of Gibraltar and Spanish fishing boat Spanish fishermen have protested over an artificial reef which they say is damaging their interests

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Gibraltar has strongly criticised Spanish police for sending divers to inspect an artificial reef in waters claimed by the British territory.

Governor Sir Adrian Johns said the action constituted a serious violation of UK sovereignty over Gibraltar.

He said it was particularly unhelpful in the light of the current row over fishing rights which has led to strict border checks and long car queues.

Spain says the reef is damaging its fishing industry.

Measuring tape

Last month, the government of Gibraltar dropped 74 concrete blocks onto the sea bed to create an artificial reef designed to reinvigorate marine life.

Pictures show Guardia Civil divers examining the blocks with measuring tape.

The divers took Spanish flags with them then posed for underwater photos, which were later shared on Twitter.

The Gibraltar government has defended its right to erect the reef, and accused Spain of "making a serious incursion into British Gibraltar Territorial Waters" and adding to existing tensions.

The government in Madrid disputes Gibraltar's ownership of the waters off its coast, and accuses its neighbour of deliberately damaging the Spanish fishing trade.

An offer from Gibraltar's chief minister to allow 59 local Spanish fishermen to return to the area had been made before the images of the police divers emerged.

'Serious incursion'

The Gibraltar government said in a statement: "Her Majesty's Government of Gibraltar notes the incident of executive action taken by the Guardia Civil in British Gibraltar Territorial Waters in the area of the new artificial reef.

"The matter of this serious incursion will not assist in de-escalating the present tensions."

The European Commission is to send a fact-finding mission to Gibraltar to investigate controls at the border.

It follows tensions between Spain and the UK over extra border checks on the Spanish side which have caused lengthy traffic delays.

Britain says the checks break EU free movement rules but Spain says Gibraltar has not controlled smuggling.

Royal Navy warship HMS Westminster docked in Gibraltar last week in what the British government said was a long-planned deployment of a number of vessels to the Mediterranean and the Gulf.

Spain disputes UK sovereignty over Gibraltar, a limestone outcrop near the southern tip of the Iberian peninsula, which has been ruled by Britain since 1713.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 166.

    Let's stop going to Spain and start going to Greece they like our money.

  • rate this

    Comment number 165.

    145 Tony..I'm one of those people you are referring in Cayman. There is nothing illegal about offshore corporations. It's creates thousands of jobs they just dont happen to be in the UK.
    By the is your weather...lovely and sunny here 325 days a year. And did I mention I don't pay income tax.....who's the fool Tony?

  • rate this

    Comment number 164.

    The Spanish won't be happy until they have sucked every last fish out of the sea.
    They've already decimated the fish stocks in the North Sea.

  • rate this

    Comment number 163.

    156 : 'Next time Spain does an incursion in to British Territorial Waters the Gib Police and Coast guard should arrest them and do a full safety inspection on their vessels, procedures, documentation.'

    That'll work ! Then Spain, whose waters completely surround Gibraltar do the same and you'll see a complete lockdown of any shipping to or from colony.

  • rate this

    Comment number 162.

    Simple solution we send on Detachment a couple of Brigades of RM Commandos for a nice 3 month deployment to the Royal Gib Regiment, to undertake joint training exercises in the bay of Gibraltar.

    Plenty of Barracks at Devils Tower Camp are sat empty as the RGR has only 2000 men, Barracks can house 8000.

    All that scuba diving and close shore patrol will do our lads a world of good.

  • rate this

    Comment number 161.

    25% youth unemployment in Spain - think the Spanish Gov't should turn their attention to that. There are 4 young Spanish people working in our office in Altrincham - they couldn't get a job in Spain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 160.

    Question, a country may have territorial waters that's understandable.
    Does a colony get the same treatment??? I am not sure!

  • rate this

    Comment number 159.

    @133 fuzzy
    How then should it earn its keep? Farming's out due to geography, ditto heavy industry. High tech is possible, but dodgy transport links. It's in a similar position as Monaco, whose major "industry" is banking. It can't even compete with Monaco on tourism.

  • rate this

    Comment number 158.

    We've one Vulcan left flying.

    Couldn't we provide the team that keeps her flying with some additional funding to allow a low fly past over Madrid?

  • rate this

    Comment number 157.

    116. fingalful

    Scotland a colony, eh. What a fool you are.

  • rate this

    Comment number 156.

    Next time Spain does an incursion in to British Territorial Waters the Gib Police and Coast guard should arrest them and do a full safety inspection on their vessels, procedures, documentation. Of course, we would have to fly a full team out from UK to do this, so it could take a week or two, when the vessel and its crew would be arrested. After all, this is safety and it is for their own good!

  • rate this

    Comment number 155.

    Pose, posture, rant, yak yak, tit for tat, boo hoo, gimme gimme, pose posture, rant.............oh, and tweet tweet...........

  • rate this

    Comment number 154.

    Spain is not going down well in the UK. It will put off tourists. If they want us to visit them (and they depend heavily on it for their economy) - they need to think twice about being petty over this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 153.

    Looking at the map, I cant see what all the fuss is about. The reef amounts to no more than fishing next to a harbour wall

  • rate this

    Comment number 152.

    Personally I don't care what Gibraltarians want from their political future, British or otherwise, but I do care that they should be allowed to decide their own future and I do care about them being bullied by Spain. Same for the Falklands. The Chagossians need to be given their homes back too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 151.

    Yesterday, on my way into Gib (pedestrian) I got stopped by a Guardia in a black uniform (thats new at the border), who wanted to inspect my passport. Then I was stopped by a Policia National, also wanting to inspect my passport. At least Gib were very welcoming and professional. This is no the way IN to Gib. What am I smuggling INTO Gib? Cigs?! Money? There is no money to smuggle OUT of Spain!

  • rate this

    Comment number 150.

    If Gibralter wants to live in unkempt conditions quite frankly it has nothing to do with Spain.

  • Comment number 149.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 148.

    I am sick fed up of people claiming that Gib is a Tax Haven!

    Tax law in Gib is same as the UK

    It is Tax compliant it has the same treaties of exchange of information as does the UK and MOST of the EU, the only EU country it does not share with is Spain! and why ?


  • rate this

    Comment number 147.

    134.Pete Powell

    LOL, I dont think they are making themselves popular with anyone right now. It rather devalues the EUs claims to keeping peace & stability in Europe, which must cause all sorts of irritations. Even the corruption allegations must be reverberating in a nasty manner.

    As for Catalonia - perhaps the more nationalistic Scots should take note


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