Spanish Navy Interfere With Royal Navy Exercise

The Spanish government has long since claimed sovereignty over Gibraltar & on many occasions have sailed Spanish warships into Gibraltar's territorial waters attempting to exercise sovereignty.

On Saturday 25th May 2019 an incident played out where the Royal Navy Scimitar-class fast patrol boat HMS Sabre of the Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron was conducting a live-fire exercise in international waters. The UK government have placed a formal protest over the actions of the Spanish navy in relation to the incident.

Royal Navy HMS Sabre

Royal Navy HMS Sabre

When Spanish navy OPV SPS Audaz approached the vessels during the exercise.


The MOD has said

both were at a safe distance at the time of the incident”
— Ministry Of Defence

Further statements have also since been issued the Ministry Of Defence about the exercise

The Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron asserted their right to exercise in international waters and continued to do so,
British Forces Gibraltar personnel were able to complete their pre-planned training.
— Ministry Of Defence

Spanish incursions into Gibraltar are nothing new there have been many occasions where Spain has sailed ships through Gibralter’s waters, they range from Naval vessels to Spanish government boats. In September 2018 a Spanish customs boat attempted to harass USNS Carson City as it tried to dock in Gibraltar & was chased off by the Royal Navy. In September 2017 the Spanish navy harassed the USNS Florida as it tried to dock in Gibraltar, it was reported that flares were fired across the bow of the Spanish ship involved in this incident. This month alone there has been a number of incursions in Gibraltar's territorial waters. On May 5th Spanish navy SPS Infanta Cristina had incurred into the waters, it was chased out by HMS Sabre & a Royal Navy RHIB

On May 7th & May 8th, a Spanish fishing vessel was spotted illegally fishing in Gibraltar's waters. On May 11th a Spanish SVA attempted to stop a speedboat in Gibraltar's waters & backed away once HMS Sabre had arrived. Later that day SPS Viga incurred. On May 14th HMS Sabre was involved in a high-speed chase with Spanish GC launch Rio Belelle. On May 24th Spanish navy Audaz had incurred.