Illegal Fishing : Spanish Guardia Boat Chased Off UK Waters

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A Royal Navy rigid-hulled inflatable boat chased off a Spanish Guardia Civil boat in UK waters off Gibraltar.

It did so after the Spanish patrol boat Rio Belelle cut across USNS Carson City as it entered Gibraltar this morning.

Gibraltar Coast Watchers founder Michael J Sanchez said: ‘Nothing better to ruffle Spain’s feathers that a visit of a U.S. Navy ship to Gibraltar…very irresponsible and reckless move by the Spanish vessel.’

USNS Carson City is the seventh Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport, currently in service with the Military Sealift Command. It was launched in June last year.

It was making its way to the Naval Base at Gibraltar at 8am this morning when the Spanish Guardia Civil launch travelling south to north cut across her path.

This required one of the Royal Navy’s Rhibs engaged in force protection duties to abandon the escort and chase out the Spanish vessel from Gibraltar waters.

The Spanish trawler was fishing illegally in UK waters for third day in a row which led to several British vessels chasing off both Spanish boats after a warning.

In April this year, British vessels were forced to chase off Spanish navy ships on three separate occasions.

On April 29, the The P78 Cazadora, from the Spanish navy’s Descubierta Class, deliberately entered the northern side of the Bay of Gibraltar.

Earlier that same month, on April 4 and April 1, the Royal Navy HMS Scimitar intercepted Spanish navy shop Infanta Cristina off the Gibraltar coast.

Last month Spain’s foreign minister said his country would not block a post-Brexit agreement between the UK and European Union to push its sovereignty claim on Gibraltar.

Alfonso Dastis said Spain would not ‘jeopardise’ any future deal by making demands to alter the British overseas territory’s status.

It comes after fears that Brussels negotiating guidelines may give Spain a veto over the Rock’s inclusion in any UK-EU trade deal.

Prime Minister Theresa May reacted to those suggestions by insisting Gibraltar’s status was not up for discussion during withdrawal negotiations.

Gibraltar was captured by Britain in 1704 and ceded to Britain in 1713 under the treaty.

In a 2002 referendum, Gibraltarians rejected by 98 percent a proposal for joint British-Spanish sovereignty.

Gibraltar’s government claims Spanish warships regularly trespass in its waters.

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