Tuesday, 19 November 2013
BREAKING NEWS: Spain is risking another diplomatic row after sailing one of its ships into the waters around Gibraltar and refusing to leave. The Foreign Office has summoned the Spanish ambassador to explain the boat's actions, describing the move as an 'incursion'. Spanish ship RV Ramon Margalef entered British waters at around 5pm on Monday and stayed there for 20 hours while apparently carrying out a survey of the ocean. In a statement Europe Minister David Lidington said: 'I strongly condemn this provocative incursion and urge the Spanish government to ensure that it is not repeated. 'We stand ready to do whatever is required to protect Gibraltar's sovereignty, economy and security.' After moving into British Gibraltar waters the Ramon Margalef was contacted by a much smaller Royal Navy patrol vessel, HMS Sabre, which repeatedly ordered it to leave. Despite the warnings the ship continued its work, with the captain insisting he had permission from Spain to be there and said he was carrying out work of 'European interest'. The conversation between the two ships was recorded back on land by an amateur radio operator. According to The Telegraph, one senior source said: 'I understand that it has got quite heated. The Royal Navy patrol boat is far smaller than the Spanish vessel but it is ramming the probes as the Spanish try and carry out their survey.' Tempers flared around the Rock in August after Spain increased security checks along the border, causing up to six hours of traffic delays in heat of up to 86F (30C). While Spain insists the delays are down to increased smuggling and border crime, Gibraltar believes it is because of an artificial reef it is building in disputed waters. Last week a European Commission ruled that Spain had broken no laws with the checks, but called on Britain to work with Spain in order to resolve the issue. Gibraltar has previously accused accused Spain of sailing boats into British waters, as well as flying military jets across the island, and has even claimed the military shot at a jet-skier as he rode waves near the coast.