Spanish police attacked for 'blatant' Gibraltar diving stunt

Police divers took photos of themselves posing with flags next to artificial reef

Spain's police have been criticised for a stunt in which divers filmed themselves inspecting a concrete reef created by Gibraltar in disputed waters

The divers took flags with them and posed underwater for photos before posting them on social networking site Twitter. 

"The act of diving itself constituted a serious violation of British sovereignty but this apparent interference with the reef is a new and worrying aspect," said Sir Adrian Johns, the Gibraltar Governor, speaking to the Daily Telegraph.

The police's actions were a "blatant attempt" to exercise jurisdiction in waters over which Gibraltar claims sovereignty, he added.

Divers from the Guardia Civil can be seen in a video measuring and inspecting one of 74 concrete blocks placed in the water by Gibraltarian authorities last month to create a reef, a move which has been met with anger by Spain.

The country also claims sovereignty over the waters around the self-governing territory, which measures just 6.8 square km (2.6 square miles) and is home to just under 30,000 people.

The Gibraltar government released a statement on the incident, saying, "Her Majesty's Government of Gibraltar notes the incident of executive action taken by the Guardia Civil in British Gibraltar Territorial Waters in the area of the new artificial reef.

"The matter of this serious incursion will not assist in de-escalating the present tensions."

Sir Adrian commented that the police dive was "particularly unhelpful" in the light of what he described as Gibraltar's "conciliatory position" in a heated row over sovereignty and fishing rights in the small British-held territory.

Fabian Picardo, the territory' chief minister announced on Saturday that 59 Spanish fishing boats could return to the disputed waters within months, under new legislation, in an attempt to calm tensions with the Spanish. He insisted, however. that the controversial reef would remain.

Gibraltar currently bans fishing with nets under an environmental protection law passed in 1991, but which Spanish fisherman were exempted from until Mr Picardo's Socialist Labour government came to power in 2011.

The Spanish government is demanding that the Gibraltarians dismantle the reef, which it says prevents its fishermen from operating in waters over which the country also claims ownership. Madrid has also accused its neighbour of deliberately damaging the Spanish fishing trade.

The flag stunt is that latest in a series of moves that have ratcheted up tensions between the two governments.

The European Commission will send observers to the border between Gibraltar and Spain at the request of both sides after the Spanish imposed extra border checks on those wishing to enter the territory.

The UK says these actions, which have caused lengthy traffic delays, break rules on free movement within the European Union. Spain's explanation for the checks were that the British outpost has not done enough to prevent smuggling.

 

 


 

 

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior .Net Programmer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Bridgend based software de...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Printer

£21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A specialist retail and brand c...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Recruitment Genius: Class 2 HGV Driver - with CPC

£26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Haulage company based on the Thorpe Indu...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence