A SPANISH survey ship has defied repeated orders from the Royal Navy to leave British Gibraltar Territorial Waters.
The RV Ramon Margalef entered the area at around 5pm on Monday and was still there on Tuesday afternoon.
Royal Navy patrol boat HMS Sabre challenged them while minesweeper HMS Penzance remained berthed at the nearby Naval Base.
The British captain of the Royal Navy patrol boat warned, “You are violating the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) governing the right to innocent passage. You are to cease your current actions and leave British Gibraltar Territorial Waters immediately.”
The captain of the RV Ramon Margalef responded stating that they had permission from Spain to be there, “We are carrying out oceanographic works which are in the interest of the European Community. We will continue with our work.”
The Foreign Office in the UK said it had summoned the Spanish ambassador in London after the latest incident.
The Government of Gibraltar condemned the ‘sustained incursion’ and described it as ‘intolerable’ and ‘dangerous’.
A spokesman said, “The Government considers that the actions of the Ramon Margalef represent an intolerable intrusion into British waters and constitutes a clear violation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). There has been close consultation between the Gibraltar Government, the Foreign Office, the Ministry of Defence and the Royal Gibraltar Police throughout the incident.”