Gibraltar calls Spanish navy ship moves 'unacceptable'

31st May 2009, Comments 0 comments

Gibraltar's chief minister has called an incursion of a Spanish navy ship into the waters around the contested British territory on Spain's southern coast "unacceptable", reports said Saturday.

GIBRALTAR - Gibraltar's chief minister has called an incursion of a Spanish navy ship into the waters around the contested British territory on Spain's southern coast "unacceptable", reports said Saturday.

In the latest in a string of similar incidents, a Spanish navy ship was spotted on 22 May in the waters off the village of Catalan Bay in "circumstances which would appear to be unacceptable," Peter Caruana was quoted as saying on Gibraltar public radio and television.

On 8 May, a Spanish navy vessel sent boarding parties to inspect Spanish fishing boats in British waters, despite the British considering that it had no authority to do so.

"It's a violation of British sovereignty and something we take very seriously indeed," a British foreign office spokesman told reporters at the time.

The first incident took place last month when a Spanish police vessel was spotted close to the western approach to the Gibraltar airport runway, which juts out into the bay. It was ordered to leave by a British navy patrol launch.

Britain's opposition conservatives said Saturday they plan to question the British government in parliament over the recent incidents.

Spain ceded Gibraltar to Britain in 1713 under the Treaty of Utrecht but has retained a constitutional claim should Britain renounce sovereignty -- a move that London says will not happen without the consent of Gibraltarians.

The Spanish government claims that Gibraltar has no territorial waters outside its internal port limits, but Britain firmly rejects this and claims three nautical miles around the Rock as British territorial waters.

AFP / Expatica

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