Spanish Warship Enters British Waters With Guns Manned, Royal Navy Deployed
Vessel orders commercial ships to leave Britain's Gibraltar territory
A Spanish warship has entered the British territorial waters of Gibraltar with its guns manned, ordering commercial ships to leave the area, the territory's government is reporting.
An audio recording shows the Spanish warship's crew telling ships anchored at Gibraltar to "leave Spanish territorial waters" during a radio exchange.
The Gibraltar Port Authority ordered commercial boats to remain after they were told to move by the Spanish ship.
A spokesman for Her Majesty's Government of Gibraltar described the show of force by Spain as "foolish."
"There is only nuisance value to these foolish games being played by those who don't accept unimpeachable British sovereignty over the waters around Gibraltar, as recognized by the whole world in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea," the spokesman added.
"It seems there are still some in the Spanish navy who think they can flout international law.
"This probably accounts for the state of extremism of some parts of the Spanish political spectrum these days."
According to Sky News, The warship was accused by the government of trying to take "executive action" against the commercial boats, which were anchored on the eastern side of the Rock.
A crew member is heard in the recording asking the Spanish ship "to verify you are referring to our ship" because they are anchored in Gibraltar.
He said: "We are not adrift, we are at anchor now."
He is then told again to leave Spanish waters.
A statement released by the Gibraltar government said:
"The Royal Navy deployed a launch and a rigid-hulled inflatable boat to the scene.
"After being challenged by the Royal Navy, the Spanish warship sailed slowly along the Gibraltar coast with its weapons uncovered and manned."
The Gibraltar government "is verifying every aspect of the incident in order to ensure that appropriate action is taking as soon as possible."