Britain said Tuesday it had summoned the Spanish Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Federico Trillo, to express the government’s concerns about ongoing incursions by Spanish vessels in territorial waters around Gibraltar.
This is the third time Trillo has been summoned since a diplomatic row broke out about the sinking of concrete blocks in the Bay of Algeciras, which Spanish fishermen claim is aimed at depriving them of their living. Spain subsequently tightened border controls, sparking long delays. A European Commission report has rejected British claims that these controls infringed European rules.
The latest incident that led Trillo to be summoned was extensive surveying carried out on Monday and Tuesday this week by the Spanish state research vessel, the RV Ramon Margalef, in waters over which Britain claims jurisdiction.
“I strongly condemn this provocative incursion and urge the Spanish government to ensure that it is not repeated,” said the minister for Europe, David Lidington. “We stand ready to do whatever is required to protect Gibraltar’s sovereignty, economy and security.”
A Civil Guard vessel carried out maneuvers near Royal Navy vessels two weeks ago causing a minor collision.