SPANISH boats have strayed into British waters around Gibraltar more than 600 times since the beginning of 2013.
There were 496 unlawful incursions in 2013 and have already been 112 in just the first three months of 2014, according to figures released by the British Foreign Secretary William Hague.
The worst month overall was August last year, during which 68 Spanish vessels entered British waters – at a an average rate of more than 2 per day.
A Foreign Office spokesperson said: “The Royal Navy challenges Guardia Civil and other Spanish state vessels whenever they make unlawful maritime incursions into British Gibraltar territorial waters.
“We back this up by making formal diplomatic protests to the Spanish Government about all unlawful incursions. Our challenges and protests make clear that such incursions are an unacceptable violation of British sovereignty.
“We are confident of UK sovereignty over British Gibraltar territorial waters under international law. We make our position clear to the Spanish Government whenever appropriate and we will continue to uphold British sovereignty and use a range of proportionate naval, police and diplomatic responses to incidents,” he added.
As reported by the Olive Press, the Spanish Ambassador, Federico Trillo, was summoned to the Foreign Office earlier this month, after an incursion led to a collision with a Royal Gibraltar Police vessel: http://www.theolivepress.es/spain-news/2014/04/02/spanish-ambassador-summoned-to-foreign-office-after-dangerous-incursion-by-ship-into-gibraltar-waters/
It was the fourth time Trillo has been summoned to the Foreign Office for problems with Gibraltar since December 2011, when the current government took office in Madrid.
This latest revelation is yet another episode in the long-running friction between Britain and Spain over The Rock.