VIDEO: ‘Serious incursion’ as Spanish boat operates within metres of Gibraltar’s shoreline

LAST UPDATED: 3 Aug, 2015 @ 08:23

THE government of Gibraltar have reported a ‘serious incursion’ took place on Saturday evening when a Spanish state vessel attempted to assert its authority, not only inside British Gibraltar Territorial Waters, but within a few metres of the shoreline.

Photograph credit: FJVR -
File photograph. Picture credit: FJVR –

At around 18.30, a Spanish customs vessel (SVA), the Aguila IV, chased a Gibraltar-registered pleasure boat within BGTW and inside the demarcated buoys at Camp Bay.

The pleasure boat had been stationary about one nautical mile off Europa Point when it was circled by  the Aguila IV which had approached from the Bay making its way past the North Mole.

It had earlier been given the UNCLOS warning over radio and did not respond.

When approached by launches from RGP and GDP and by a Navy RHIB, the crew of the Spanish vessel claimed that, earlier, the pleasure boat had been off Estepona and had failed to stop when asked to do so.

Having been informed that it had no jurisdiction inside BGTW, the Aguila IV was then escorted into Spanish waters.

The two occupants of the pleasure boat later claimed when questioned that they were fishing off Europa Point when the SVA vessel had requested their documentation. They had moved into Camp Bay and called for assistance.

‘This is another glaringly obvious example of a Spanish state vessel attempting to assert its authority well inside our territorial limits. It could hardly be clearer that the vessel had no jurisdiction to operate at Europa Point and even less just a few metres from a beach at Camp Bay,’ said the Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia. ‘Quite apart from the serious political issues raised by this matter, it is also dangerous for a state vessel to operate in this way inside ademarcated bathing area. This is illegal in the face of internationally-recognised Laws of the Sea.’

This latest development adds to the already complicated relationship between Britain and Spain, after the sinking of concrete blocks last year for Gibraltar’s artificial reef project.

Spain complained that these blocks would cause problems for their fishing industry, and shortly afterwards imposed strict controls at the border with Gibraltar.

Britain and Gibraltar argued that these checks were politically motivated but the European Commission ruled that the border checks had not infringed any European law.

Speaking last year Europe Minister David Lidington said: “According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the waters around Gibraltar are indisputably British territorial waters, under United Kingdom sovereignty, in which only the United Kingdom has the right to exercise jurisdiction.

“Her Majesty’s Government takes a grave view of any attempt by Spain to exert authority or control within British Gibraltar territorial waters and considers such incursions as a violation of our sovereignty.

“Her Majesty’s Government will continue to take whatever action we consider necessary to uphold British sovereignty and the interests of Gibraltar, its people, its security and economy.”

• Gibraltar petitions for increased military protection on coast

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    • The Treaty of Utrect no longer applies. It was a peace treaty that was broken by Spain before the ink was dry. The only way for Spain to take over Gibraltar now is through war. Never mind, eh?

  1. That old Utrecht treaty argument from Spain is as pathetic as the government of Spain. The main point here Salvador old boy is that the incompetent and amateur Spanish ‘authorities’ in the SVA boat entered a buoy marked bathing area in a motor boat. This just shows Spain’s total disregard for the safety of human life and is a sad reflection on the Spanish people in general.

  2. Since Spain continues to state that Gibraltar has no territorial seas then why not challenge this in the international courts, of course they don’t go to court because they know they will lose the case under the United Nations law of the seas article 19 where it clearly states that Gibraltar is entitled to not 3 but 12 miles of territorial seas out of which only 3 miles has been assigned by the UK as BGTWS. So as I say it’s about time Spain is taken to court.

  3. Wow you lot sound like Tony Blair thinking up reasons to have a nice little war. As the Iraq war cost over 1 million lives to look good, you lot will need to keep it under that.

  4. Definition of shore line (Merrian webster):

    “The land along the edge of an area of water (such as an ocean, lake, etc.)”

    Shore line is not the same that a maritime frontier. one thousand meters far in the sea.

    I think that this article is absolutely wrong.

    And the photo of a ship floating a few centimeters of the shore line is more wrong

  5. Of course there are British Gibraltar Territorial Waters. Every navy and shipping company except Spain recognises this every time they enter them. The SVA’s piratical behaviour should be the subject of a European Arrest Warrant for the coxswain / commander for reckless and dangerous navigation. The Olive Press photo is irrelevant. There are several videos and photos taken by beach-goers , which clearly show the dark, menacing Spanish launch going past buoys demarcating the swimming area at Camp Bay.

  6. See the footage here “”. The yellow buoys to the right demarcate the protected area. The little pleasure boat only entered here to save its occupants from being kidnapped by the armed thugs on the big launch. Where was the Royal Navy?

  7. Some of these views make me wonder why some Brits leave blighty, this childish argument on territorial waters about a rock which is so far from U.K. mainland beggars belief. ED I don´t know if you are an ex pat or Gibraltarian but that last line of your comment was truly shameful.

  8. off estepona???? bl*&dy liars!! – that Spanish boat can do 40knots + and her length will give it the advantage over the little speedboat in semi rough weather – as can be seen – especially from a “chase” from estepona!!!!!

  9. And it’s attitudes like your’s Nick that allow these thugs to get away with what they do. Bullying! Thankfully the British people in general stand up to fascists and that’s why the people of the Falkland Islands are not Argentinian or worse…dead! That too was far away from the UK.
    I find it hard to believe in these days that so many Spaniards are brainwashed by their own people. If a people want to be aligned to another nation or independent then who are you to say they can’t?
    Yes Ed’s statement was a bit sweepingly general but the face of Spain it’s politicians etc do not give a good impression.

  10. Nick, my comment was not shameful in the slightest. The Spanish people voted in the moronic government they have so they must stand by the actions of said government.
    On the contrary Nick, your comment is cowardly, appeasing and ill thought out as it is basically in support of an outrageous bully – The Spanish ‘authorities’.

  11. Three things:
    1. Violence never fixed anything, look at history.
    2. In the UK we also have a moronic government that were also voted in. Suppose that is a sad reflection on the UK people.
    3. If the UK government could get rid of the rock and all the trouble that goes with it they would. Only thing stopping them is the controversy that would ensue from the people who think the Rock is important.

  12. Ed , for God´s sake take those blinkers off. There are 2 sides to every argument and to call my statement cowardly is ridiculous. As John mentioned our people voted in the Tories which in my opinion and many others is a sad reflection on the English population. I believe in 2 sides of an argument and if your comments hadn´t used such inflammatory language I would not have replied so strongly.
    As my Spanish friends tell me the situation has got a lot worse since the present governer was elected who is completely intransient to any Spanish initiatives, guess what, that rubs the Spanish up the wrong way.

  13. John: 1: Violence fixed Hitler, Mussolini and Hirohito. (to name three.)
    2: 26% of the British people voted for their crap government, 17% threw votes away on idiotic no-hopers (UKIP et-al) the rest stayed away in despair of an alternative.
    3: Have to agree. So it’s up to the Gibbos to get a big stick and wield it.

  14. The situation in Gibraltar worsened when the PP came to power. Was a bit of a distraction for Rajoy when the country was crumbling. There are no 2 sides, Spain has Gib by the short and curlies thanks to weak appeasing Cameron.

  15. stefanjo,
    sadly there will always be stupid or cowardly appeasers – remember that silly little man flying back from Germany waving that piece of paper. The time to tackle a bully is immediately it appears round the S bend aka 1933 – the French wanted to but the Brits bottled and anyway many of the elite had jackboots stashed in their cupboards.

    Indeed this argument was validated by the Spanish civil war. Everything the British and French elites could do to destroy the Republic they did. They were entirely successful but too stupid to realise what this would lead to – WW11.

    Incidentally had Hitler been successful (which he should have done) it was’nt the British working people that he would have exterminated, he admired the skills they had, it would have been the elite that was irrelevant to him. This has been so throughout history aka the Norsemen getting rid of the Saxon/Engli nobility.

    Had Thatcher sent a couple of missile squadrons to the Falklands there would have been no war there but this would’nt have suited her political purpose – so it goes.

    Vamos a ver

  16. pg: You jest, of course? The woman who has paved the way for the destruction of the welfare state?
    The woman who emasculated the unions with vicious anti working-class laws? The woman who – like her acolyte Blair- dragged us into a stupid skirmish in the Atlantic, to defend a few sheep and a handful of crofters? The woman who with her “bonfire of regulations” made possible the opportunity for thieves to destroy the banking system? That Maggie?

  17. As opposed to the “keep borrowing money,let as many people in the UK as you like,don’t worry about the future,etc,etc” labour party ?????……….oh by the way it was labour party who introduced the zero contracts was it not????……short memories or what?

  18. Oh Jane!!!!… beat me to it….they still have not learnt have they??,corbyn and foot both unelectable and what a brilliant opposition to the Tories,who contrary to a lot of people,have a mandate to govern………its called democracy!!!!…….whose the ones letting down the British people now?????