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Madrid talks tough on ships “bunkering” of fuel off Gibraltar

Spanish government says it will take action on companies which continue the practice it claims is a danger to the environment

Spain's government will deal harshly with companies that continue to practice "bunkering" — the sale of fuel from vessels in the Strait of Gibraltar — which is a danger to the environment, said Agriculture, Food and Environment Minister Miguel Arías Cañete on Tuesday.

Speaking on behalf of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Cañete told reporters that the government would "not quiver" in the face of threats made by British Prime Minister David Cameron, who warned Monday he would take "unprecedented" legal action against Spain for increasing border checks on vehicles traveling to and from Gibraltar.

Cañete said Spain has every right to enforce the stricter controls, which have caused long traffic hold-ups between La Línea and the British colony. "The government is not going to back down and will defend its legitimate rights," he said.

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