Two Gibraltarian patrol boats harassed the crew of a Spanish ocean research vessel operating off the coast of the British territory on Sunday afternoon, the Civil Guard reported.
The incident occurred when the Ángeles Alvariño was working with a depth sounder around one-and-a-half nautical miles off Europa Point, said the Civil Guard, which sent two patrol boats to protect the researchers.
The Gibraltar government condemned the incident on Sunday night, describing it as a new escalation in the “deliberate lack of respect” for British sovereignty.
Gibraltar described the incident as a new escalation in the “deliberate lack of respect” for British sovereignty
The face-off between the Gibraltarian police and navy boats and the Spanish vessels lasted several hours until the Ángeles Alvariño retreated to a distance of three nautical miles from Europa Point, where it completed its work.
The Ángeles Alvariño is the same boat that was at the center of a similar incident earlier this year that led to a diplomatic spat, which saw the British and Spanish ambassadors both summoned in their corresponding countries.
Working under the command of the Economy Ministry, the Ángeles Alvariño has for the last five years been working on a research project to analyze the masses of water entering and leaving the Atlantic and Mediterranean.
This latest incident follows an altercation between a Civil Guard patrol boat and a Gibraltarian police vessel in the Bay of Algeciras last month, and also coincides with an ongoing British Foreign Ministry investigation into the alleged intrusion of two fighter jets into Gibraltar airspace on September 19.