Spanish Warships Orders UK Ships To Leave Gibraltar’s Waters - ROUND GIST

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Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Spanish Warships Orders UK Ships To Leave Gibraltar’s Waters

A Spanish warship with its guns manned ordered commercial ships to leave Gibraltar’s British waters on Sunday, it has emerged. The warship’s crew can be heard in an audio recording of a radio exchange telling vessels anchored at the Rock to ‘leave Spanish territorial waters’. Royal Navy boats were deployed in response to the incident.

Royal Marines and sailors have been in the country enhancing their Arctic capability during Exercise Clockwork, undergoing extreme weather training at Bardufoss in Norway where temperatures can fall to lows of -30°c.

The Commando Helicopter Force (CHF) and Joint Helicopter Command have been deploying there for 50 years. Last week, Prince Harry, the General Captain Royal Marines, visited personnel deployed in Norway, getting up close and personal inside a quincy.

Tensions over territorial waters around the peninsula in southern Spain often erupt between Spanish and British vessels. Gibraltar, overlooking the strait between the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, has been ruled by Britain since 1713.

Its status and the status of its 30,000 residents have been gaining attention as Britain’s exit from the European Union approaches on March 29, raising questions about free movement across its land and sea borders with Spain.

“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,” a spokesman for Gibraltar said.

Spain has already secured a right of veto over whether future Brexit arrangements can apply to Gibraltar. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez held up an agreement on Britain’s withdrawal treaty in November over the issue and said Spain would seek joint sovereignty after Britain leaves the EU.

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