Spanish patrol vessel 'asked to leave Western Beach area as Hawk prepared to take off'

The Opposition says it is concerned that the incursions by Spanish patrol boats into the territorial waters of Gibraltar continue to happen almost on a daily basis.

An eyewitness has reported that on Thursday morning a Spanish patrol boat entered the area of Western Beach. The RAF Hawks which were here on exercise were leaving Gibraltar at that time and were preparing to take-off. The Spanish vessel stayed in the area observing the RAF aircraft until it was approached by a Gibraltar police launch after which it left the area.

"It is totally unacceptable that the agencies of the Spanish Government continue to enter and leave the territorial waters of Gibraltar as if our waters belong to them. This time it has been in Western Beach, other times it has been in Camp Bay and even inside the Port itself," said the Opposition.

They add: The Government has already told Parliament that it intends to increase the capacity of its maritime resources in order to put an end to the Spanish incursions. Even though the defence of the waters is a matter for the United Kingdom, the Gibraltar Government has claimed that it still has jurisdictional competences in the waters over a range of matters as a result of statutory obligations.

The Opposition reiterate that it is imperative that firm action is taken to ensure that Spain respects British sovereignty over our territorial sea.