New row after Britons arrested fishing in Gibraltar waters

LAST UPDATED: 23 Jul, 2012 @ 15:47
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New row after Britons arrested fishing in Gibraltar waters

By James Bryce

POLICE in Gibraltar are deploying extra boats after Spanish officers arrested two British nationals for fishing in waters around the Rock.

The two men were detained for two hours on Friday night and had their Gibraltar-registered boat impounded and fishing equipment seized.

While they were eventually released without charge, the incident has speeded up the construction of a new base close to the border to help protect its waters.

It also comes just days after a Gibraltarian told local paper Panorama that Spanish police had fired over a dozen rubber bullets at his pleasure boat, accusations denied by the Guardia Civil.

Both incidents have sparked outrage among politicians, with Gibraltar vowing to defend itself by ramping up security in the waters around the Rock.

“I am shocked by the disgraceful behaviour of the Spanish Guardia Civil,” said Foreign Office Minister for Europe David Lidington.

“The Government will be making it clear to Spain that such action, on the part of the law enforcement agencies of a EU Partner and NATO Ally, is intolerable and unlawful.

“The British Government remains confident of our Sovereignty of Gibraltar and British Gibraltar Territorial Waters.

“Our position is clear. The UK will never enter into arrangements under which the people of Gibraltar would pass under the sovereignty of another State against their wishes.”

The Gibraltar government meanwhile condemned the Spanish authorities for confiscating fishing equipment, insisting that the boat’s owners were not fishing illegally.

It also accused Spanish police of turning off navigational lights on both the fishing boat and their own craft in a deliberate attempt to avoid detection.

“Gibraltar condemns the actions of the Spanish Civil Guards,” insisted a spokesman.

“This latest incident, as indeed all the others, are totally outside international law and the bounds of acceptable neighbourly behaviour.

“Such actions amount to a clear and premeditated escalation of the continuing breaches of the sovereign integrity of our waters, which have been occurring repeatedly for more than three years.

“This belligerent act of provocation by the para-military armed forces of Spain cannot be allowed to go unchallenged.”

Gibraltar’s leaders have urged the UK to take decisive action, insisting ‘the time has now come for action, not simply written protests’.

He added: “Guardia Civil actions such as these are not only invasions of our territorial sea which must be repelled by the Royal Navy.

“They also amount to criminal acts of unlawful detention, trespass and false imprisonment.”

The incident follows a number of clashes between Gibraltarian authorities and Spanish fishermen over fishing rights in the disputed waters around the Rock.

66 COMMENTS

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  1. Talking to a wall is time wasting. You could turn blue in the face and the wall would remain impassive. Goodbye wall. Let someone else try and give you a freshcoat of paint, but not with the old lye mixtures used in 1704 you seem to be currently covered in and which is in dire need of being scraped off because it’s been flaking for three centuries. Maybe with a new coat of paint you would be be able to step into and blend in with the times we live in.

    And to you Mr/Ms FurtherBeyond, have a pleasant weekend.

  2. Baussie Aussie, well as long as you agree with FurtherBeyond that settles all arguments and everyone else can relax trusting you to sort it all out. In your dreams – not while democracy exists and certainly not until after Spain takes up the invitation to a tripartite meeting. If Spain does not intend to debate the matter, to an extent that the matter can be discussed responsibly and fairly by the UN and/or EU, you might as well pontificate from your ivory towers until you run out of gas
    Having said that it would be useless Spain turning up with the kind of unyielding rhetoric you offer
    Good luck Inthename

    BTW if you were able to watch the opening ceremony of the Olympics last night you will understand that Britain, and it’s friends are made of sterner stuff and will not succumb to bullying

  3. Hey John Simpson, Wasnt that just something? What a wonderful spectacle to be remembered, always.
    Made me smile to think I had just mentioned the Industrial Revolution in one my comments up there. Promise I had no inside knowledge lol. Trust Britain to always give of her best to the world, even in these troubled times. Bless her.

    Cheers!

  4. Oh and by the way Gibraltar is represented within the UK athletes. We have our own young lady Miss Cassar in the UK Rhythmic gymnastics team, quite an honour and a statement. Good luck to all athletes taking part in the Olympics. You are all winners regardless of whether you take a medal home or not.

  5. Of course Spain backs the UN resolution on the decolonisation of Gibraltar..its the only interested party! But Morocco has time and time again mentioned to Spain it wants Ceuta and Melilla back as well. I wonder whether Spain would back UN resolutions in that respect as forcibly once Morocco formally places these two colonies on the list of territories which need to be decolonised. And the time will come, make no mistake. Maybe you will then ask for the UK’s backing on this.You also forgot to mention that Spainis not complying with UN Resolutions either by ending the Trilateral Forum which was the resolve imposed on both England and Spain and Gibraltar too,Spain insisting that we have nothing to say in Our future. Very democratic of Spain!

    Read why the Spanish Foreign minister has recalled Spaniards from the Sahara Area this week, and ask yourself why instead of sending troops to reinforce the area, you are backing away. Gibraltar has always been a stalwart for the defence of the Mediterranean, tried and tested many times. Could we say the same for you guys?

    The difference between those countries that have been decolonised and those that havent is that Gibraltarians dont want to be parted from Britain. And Britain respects that!

  6. Inthename

    It’s hardly surprising that Britain, in it’s usual self-serving way, respects Gibraltar’s wish to remain a British colony. However, the UN (and of course Spain) do not hold to that view.

    You keep mentioning Ceuta and Melilla but youconveniently ignore the fact that there are no UN General Assembly resolutions calling for the decolonisation of Ceuta and Melilla. The simple reason for this is, that unlike Gibraltar, those territories are not colonies. That is, they are not listed by the UN as territories that need to be decolonised.

    Moreover, the fact that the UN has identified Gibraltar as one of the territories that still need to be decolonised means that Britain’s claim to sovereignty over Gibraltar, notwithstanding its other problems, is increasingly questionable on any grounds.

    The trend in international State practice is for enclaves to return to their mainland, irrespective of a any valid treaty cession (see the following recent examples: Goa; Hong Kong; Macau; and Walvis Bay).

    This trend is supported by ICJ case law. For example, in the Western Sahara case the ICJ found that some pre-existing legal ties of a third state to the territory colonized by some other state could in principle affect the decolonization of the territory (see para. 162 in particular).

    On the facts of that case, the Court did not find that such legal ties existed between Morocco and the Mauritanian entity and Western Sahara, and therefore it did not specify what the precise effect of such ties could be. Arguably, however, if a third state had title over the territory, which was usurped by the colonizer, this would have an effect of limiting the right of a people of that territory to internal, rather than external self-determination, as is indeed normally the case.

    No one is suggesting that the current occupants of Gibraltar should be removed, let alone removed through the use of force (even though this is exactly what the British did to the Spanish inhabitants of Gibraltar in 1704). Nevertheless, under international law, the current occupants of the British colony have no right to unilaterally determine the nationality of the land they live in.

  7. Inthename

    You obviously prefer to ignore inconvenient truths in the hope that they will disappear.

    Contrary to your assertions to the contrary, there are no UN resolutions that require compliance with the Trilateral Forum.

    However, the UK has failed to comply with a number of UN General Assembly resolutions on the need to decolonise Gibraltar. The UK has also failed to honour its undertakings under the Brussels Process.

  8. By the way, as you seem to live by UN Resolutions and everything they say, why not have a read of what the UN said on the 6th of June 2012 about the Rights that your own people are losing at the hands of your Government. This is the here and the now, the present. Why dont you use your knowledge of the Resolutions of the United Nations and the law to try and help your own people, instead of going on about 300 year old situations that you will never change?

    “http://www.elplural.com/2012/07/30/la-onu-censura-los-recortes-de-rajoy-porque-aumentan-el-paro-y-perjudican-a-los-mas-desfavorecidos/”

  9. Inthename

    It’s encouraging to see you start to acknowledge the authority of the UN. However, it does highlight your inconsistency.

    I agree with the UN on this issue. However, more to the point of the current discussion, I also agree with the UN that the UK should enter into urgent negotiations with Spain to decolonise Gibraltar.

    How about you being consistent and recognising the UN’s call for the UK to decolonise Gibraltar.

    In addition to the several UN resolutions requiring Gibraltar’s decolonisation, there is also the fact that the current trend in international State practice is for colonial enclaves to return to the mainland, irrespective of a valid treaty cession (see the following recent examples: Goa; Hong Kong; Macau; and Walvis Bay).

    This trend is supported by current ICJ case law. For example, in the Western Sahara case the ICJ found that some pre-existing legal ties of a third state to the territory colonized by some other state could in principle affect the decolonization of the territory (see para. 162 in particular). On the facts of that case, the Court did not find that such legal ties existed between Morocco and the Mauritanian entity and Western Sahara, and therefore it did not specify what the precise effect of such ties could be.
    Arguably, however, if a third state had title over the territory, which was usurped by the colonizer, this would have an effect of limiting the right of a people of that territory to internal, rather than external self-determination, as is indeed normally the case.

    No one is suggesting that the current occupants of Gibraltar should be removed, let alone removed through the use of force (even though this is exactly what the British did to the Spanish inhabitants of Gibraltar in 1704).

    While you may have a right to have your ‘interests’ considered in the discussion over sovereignty between the UK and Spain that the UN has called for, as an occupant living in a colony that needs to be decolonised, you have no right to unilaterally determine the nationality of the land you occupy.

    Unpleasant as this maybe for you and your ilk – those are the facts.

  10. Gibraltar can stay independent, but it is to cut the leeching, the bunkering and hosting of terrorist bank accounts.

    For every british citizen that evade taxes in gibraltar, there is less money for your Healthcare system or your armed forces.

    While british soldiers die in Afganistan. You let terrorist open bank accounts in Gibraltar……
    Makes you wonder if something is wrong….

  11. FurtherBeyond (or Frank Martin) why do you feel the need to copy and paste the same comment on various sites? The UN is not sacrosanct – it gave Eritrea to Ethiopia without a vote, and sanctioned the so-called ‘Act of Free Choice’ in West Papua giving the territory to Indonesia.

  12. Further Beyond: Apart from the fact that Spain actually ceded Gibraltar to us in the Treaty of Utrecht one simply cannot go back in time and right all the historical wrongs.

    If that were the case we should immediately demand the return of our colony the USA, that was outrageously stolen from us by traitors to the British Crown.

    You speak excellent English for a Spaniard but why are you so keen for Gibraltar to become Spanish? Would you advocate that it be taken over by the financial geniuses at La Linea council with the council workers not getting paid for 5 months? Just think, we could shut all businesses down in the middle of the day for 5 hour lunch breaks, sorry siestas, and employ layers the inefficient Spanish bureaucracy.

    If you really want to turn the clock back and give Gibraltar to Spain, why don’t you first give back to Ceuta and Melia

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