Nuclear submarine in Gibraltar

The nuclear-powered submarine HMS SUPERB arrived in Gibraltar on Sunday for what the MOD describes as"a short stay to provide a rest period for her crew prior to continuing on operational tasking."

While Gibraltar does not object to such visits, the same cannot be said about the Spanish side of the fence.

The ecology group Verdemar says that of late there have been a number of submarines in the area but have not berthed in Gibraltar because they have been victualled by Europa Point "near the Bay of

Algeciras."Anyone reading their statement might think that Europa Point is a stone-throw from Algeciras, or San Roque or La Linea!

The Spanish ecology spokesman Antonio Munoz has called on all political parties in the Campo area to pronounce themselves against such submarines continuing to berth in Gibraltar.

It is well known that the UK notifies its submarine movements through established NATO channels through which Spain gets to know.

Assurances have been given that no efluent or other waste will be discharged from anuclear powered warship that would cause any ascertainable hazard through an increase in the general background radioactivity of the environment.

All safety precautions followed in the UK are also "strictly observed" in Gibraltar. Further, the UK says that it puts "the safey of the local population and those in the surrounding region at the centre of all its safety considerations when operating its nuclear force."

The 'Superb' is the third 'Swiftsure' class nuclear submarine put in service, having been commissioned in 1976, just three years after the Swiftsure itself.