Spanish, Gibraltar police boats collide, three injured
Two police boats from Spain and Gibraltar collided as they chased a suspected drug smuggler's vessel, slightly injuring three Gibraltar police, Spanish and Gibraltar police said Tuesday.
The vessels collided in Spanish waters near Gibraltar, a contested British territory on the southern tip of Spain, during the joint operation in the early hours of Tuesday, a spokesman for Spain's Civil Guard police said.
"After the collision the Gibraltar police fell into the water and the Civil Guards abandoned the chase to rescue the police from Gibraltar," the spokesman said.
The three injured Gibraltar police officers were taken to a hospital at the Spanish port of Algericas but have since been discharged, a Gibraltar police spokesman said.
Spanish and Gibraltarian police, though they often work together, have had several maritime face-offs in recent years in the waters off Gibraltar.
In April, Gibraltar police charged that one of its boats was damaged in a clash with Spanish police vessels that illegally entered its waters in pursuit of suspected drug traffickers.
Britain claims a strip of three nautical miles (5.5 kilometres) surrounding Gibraltar as its territorial waters. But Spain does not recognise any waters off Gibraltar as belonging to the territory apart from its ports.
© 2011 AFP