A Spanish warship with guns primed ready for action, ordered on Sunday commercial ships to leave Gibraltar’s British territorial waters.
The Spanish warship said over a radio exchange that the commercial vessels who were anchored are to “leave Spanish territorial waters,” although the waters are in fact British.
The Royal Navy were quickly deployed to respond to the “foolish” standoff. The Gibraltar Port Authority stepped in and ordered the ships and boats to disregard the Spanish orders, as they have no authority.
A spokesman for Her Majesty’s government of Gibraltar said, “There is only nuisance value to these foolish games being played by those who don’t accept unimpeachable British sovereignty over the waters around Gibraltar, as recognised by the whole world in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
“It seems there are still some in the Spanish navy who think they can flout international law.
“This probably accounts for the state of extremism of some parts of the Spanish political spectrum these days.”
The Spanish warship was clearly acting illegally as the government of Gibraltar accused the warship of trying to take an “executive action” against the ships.
The Gibraltar government said in a statement, “The Royal Navy deployed a launch and a rigid-hulled inflatable boat to the scene.
“After being challenged by the Royal Navy, the Spanish warship sailed slowly along the Gibraltar coast with its weapons uncovered and manned.”