A Spanish vessel has entered UK waters, sparking outrage in Gibraltar and the UK. Moreover, a video, posted online, has suggested the Spanish national anthem was played, although later reports claimed the clip had been doctored. The incident marks a new flare-up in the 300-year-old dispute over the British territory that Spain also lays claim to.
The Spanish Navy has come under fire after a Twitter user, reported to be a Gibraltar local by several outlets, posted a clip of a warship sailing through the British territorial waters accompanied by the sounds of the Spanish anthem. The Infanta Elena, a 40-year-old Descubierta class corvette, was claimed to be manoeuvering off the Gibraltar coast on the afternoon of 4 December.
The UK Foreign Office has confirmed there has been an intrusion.
“As with all incursions, the Royal Navy challenged the vessel. When challenged, the Spanish Navy vessel left British Gibraltar Territorial Waters. Incursions are a violation of sovereignty, not a threat to it. We have no doubt about our sovereignty over Gibraltar”, said a Foreign Office spokesman, as cited by the Daily Mail.
However, the Foreign Office refuted reports of the ship playing the Spanish national anthem stating the Royal Navy vessel that was on site did not hear it. The Telegraph also suggested that the video was doctored.