The long-running handbagging between Spain and the UK over the sovereignty of Gibraltar has continued, with more tense stand-offs between fishing boats and authorities from both sides. In the most recent incidents, the Royal Navy’s HMS Sabre and Gibraltarian police boats challenged incursions by Spanish fishing boats operating in contravention of local environmental laws in Gibraltarian waters, when being escorted by Spanish Guardia Civil vessels.
On each occasion the Spanish trawlers ignored warnings, before eventually returning to Spanish waters on their own. Active enforcement in such matters is avoided, lest the matter escalate into something more serious.
Located on the southern tip of the Iberian peninsula at the entrance to the Mediterranean, Gibraltar has been a British overseas territory since 1713. The Royal Navy maintains a permanent presence in the form of the Gibraltar Squadron, comprising two 16m patrol craft, HMS Scimitar and HMS Sabre, armed with two 7.62mm machine guns and three 6.5m Arctic RIBs.