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 286.

    Stop British holidays in Spain (Portugal is as nice anyway), don't join into a new bailout (which they are bound to need) and stop buying Spanish products.
    See how fast Franco's heirs come crawling back on their knees.
    Oh, and lets support Catalan and Basque independence, that will really annoy Rajoy and his corrupt cronies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 285.

    #280 Agreed. Paying off Franco was a much less evil. Ditto WMD Shylock chooses to ignore the mongols chucking plague infected corpses over walls with catapults. That happened. The evidence for small pox infected blankets is much weaker. The first people to use poison gas in warfare were in fact the Germans at 2nd Ypres, April 1915. My great-grandfather took out one of their gas sites on day 1.

  • rate this

    Comment number 284.

    277.dan doherty
    Spain is a ridiculous country anyway.....

    But if so why there are so many brits who love to have their holidays there and many have their seocnd home or enjoy their retirement home there?

  • rate this

    Comment number 283.

    I tried that Paella once.Never ever again.

  • rate this

    Comment number 282.

    Don't hold out much hope of the EU being able to change things at the boarder. Gibraltar is part of the UK and the UK refuses to be part of the Schengen Agreement. It's the UK's insistence on having a closed boarder that allows Spain to impose such restrictions.
    Even Switzerland is in the The Schengen Area, and they are not even in the EU.

  • rate this

    Comment number 281.

    On the basis that Gib is part of the Spanish mainland, will they try to 'reclaim' Portugal? I know that is a silly thing to say but so are a lot of the jingoist/apologist comments. It's all about the right of self determination. As someone else mentions Spain should ask the people of their Moroccan enclaves, the Basques, Catalonia, the Canary Islands etc if they want to stay a part of Spain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 280.

    @275, it is easy to look back and see mistakes in history but since nobody that I am aware of has a functioning crystal ball it is necessary to deal with the facts in front of you and Franco was a lesser evil than Spain entering the war on the side of Germany. Your history etc etc needs some work, chemical and biological weapons have been used throughout history, and smallpox is a bio weapon.

  • Comment number 279.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 278.

    Freedom from Spanish imperialists in the African Islands, freedom for the Basque region from Spanish domination, reparations for the S.American tribes the Spanish butchered for gold....Majorca for the indiginous,Mallorca for the indiginous.....well Spain ?
    Well you cant have your cake and eat it.......Spain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 277.

    Spain is a ridiculous country anyway, they have no democracy despite how it may look. Internet is Spain is pants at best, water supply always goes off as does power, the railways are a joke, Spain without a labour market is technically a second world country not dissimilar to Brazil or Argentina, you cant negotiate with these people, they are and always have been a dictator state.

  • rate this

    Comment number 276.

    Has anyone contacted Sean Penn to ask for his opinion?

  • rate this

    Comment number 275.

    @271 HughR

    So to keep Franco in power and have him crucify his own people for decades is OK with you.
    That british lives were (apparently) saved and many Spaniards suffered for decades is also OK.
    That the british were the first nation to use chemical weapons by infecting blankets given to women and children of the defenceless native north americans is probably also OK.

    Very sad.

  • rate this

    Comment number 274.

    Nothing good ever came out of Spain.

    I thought any spanish food tastes much better than the fish chips? and did they have the high speed train ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 273.

    Nothing good ever came out of Spain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 272.

    If Spain consider that the rock is theirs then they have to got out of the 2 enclaves that belong to Moroco on the African continent

  • rate this

    Comment number 271.

    I am well versed in the relationship between Britain the USA and Spain, I am also aware that if bribery had not been used to keep Spain out of the war the death toll on all sides would have been far higher, the Fascist government in Spain was willing to enter the war but the Generals were not and that for me is the lesser of the evils, trust me I'm British.

  • rate this

    Comment number 270.

    @260 HughR

    Did you not see the recent UK treasury papers relating to that time and the fact that the UK PAID SPAIN ( the dictator Franco ) hundreds of millions of English pounds so that Spain would stay out of WW11.

    This bribery kept the dictator Franco in power and cost the lives of thousands of honest Spaniards.

    Sold the Russian royal family out to the me I'm English.

  • rate this

    Comment number 269.

    Hypocritical or what - Spain has TWO enclaves in Morocco, Ceuta and Mellila, and they also lay claim to Perejil Island just 200m off the Moroccan Coast. Morocco want's their land back, Spain refuses to negotiate. Spain suffers from the same hot-headed latin temperament as their colonists in Argentina.

  • rate this

    Comment number 268.

    This fiasco is purely a Spanish Govt. ruse to focus Spanish attention away from domestic woes. We are looking at a carbon copy of the Argentina-Falklands debate. Argentina invaded because it thought Britain was too far away to wield the Big Stick. Spain can do little more than 'spit its dummy' - all very immature - and in breach of EU free movement.
    BTW, where is our (UK) support from the EU?

  • rate this

    Comment number 267.

    Haven't the Spanish authorities done a wonderful job deflecting their problems ie corruption at the highest levels , extreme levels of unemployment , and the general state of the country's finances etc by playing the Gibraltar card and supporting a couple of fishermen who fish illegally according to all EU rules and make life miserable for all people living on either side of the border.


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