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Gibraltar forms the eastern shore of a bay that has been of commercial importance from the earliest times. It has been claimed that the port of Tharshish to which the fleets of Solomon resorted was situated here. Certainly the Phoenicians recognised the advantages of its protective geographical features: they founded the colony of Melcarthos (Carteia) on the north shore during the 9th century B.C. and made it an entropy for trade with many ports throughout the Mediterranean.

Gibraltar was occupied successively by the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans and Visgoths but remained uninhabited until the Mohammedan invasion of the Iberian peninsula in 711 A.D. by Tariq-ibn-Zeyad from whom Gibraltar gets its name, Gibel Tariq (Tariqs Mountain) and the city itself was founded by the Almohad monarch, Abd el Mumin in 1160 A.D.

The Spaniards finally seized Gibraltar from the Moors in 1462 and retained it until 1704. In that year it was surrendered to an Anglo Dutch force during the war of the Spanish Succession, since when it has remained in British hands. The existence of the actual Rock of Gibraltar is first recorded by the Romans, who named it Calpe.

It was the belief of ancient writers that the Pilars of Hercules were situated in the Strait of Gibraltar and after they perished, the two mountains, Calpe and Abyla (the latter being situated opposite Gibraltar on the African shore, retained their names. For further information, please visit: The History of Gibraltar


At the entrance to the Mediterranean, in position Latitude - 36°08°N Longitude - 05°22°W.


Cruise liners, ferry, yachts and among other vessels.


One Gibraltar £ = £1 sterling.

Documents required

Three crew lists/passenger lists, Maritime Declaration of Health, ships register, loadline certificate, de-rating certificate, crew agreement, certificate of insurance concerning civil liability for oil pollution.


Compulsory on arrival and for berthing, unberthing and shifting anchorage. Vessels at anchor may leave without a pilot.


Vessels calling for bunkers or water can be berthed at both sides of the Western Arm. Outer side is 490m long draft up to 9.6m, the inner side is 450m and maximum draft is 8m. Ships of deeper draft can be accommodated according to tide. Vessels calling for lay-up or repairs can be berthed at the Detached Mole. There are also two berths of 100m in length available to vessels discharging general cargoes.

Port administration

The Port of Gibraltar is administered by the Gibraltar Port Authority, with a staff of around 50 as well as seven self-employed pilots, responsible to the Pilot Authority. Within the Government of Gibraltar, the minister with responsibility for the Port is the Minister for Tourism, Public Transport and the Port, The Hon Neil Costa.

Customs formalities in Gibraltar

The Customs Department is responsible for the control of all imports/exports by the sea, land or air. It also has the responsibility for the clearance of passengers and their baggage on arrival in Gibraltar, so controls are exercised over the arrivals of private pleasure crafts.

Any ship arriving in Gibraltar with cargo must, within 24 hours, make report both by delivering to customs an inward manifest of goods, duly signed by the Master or Agent. The Master must also answer all questions put to him by the customs officer regarding the ship, her crew, cargo, passengers, stores, and voyage. He must also deliver any document relating to the ship, her cargo etc.

In the case of a vessel over 1,000 net tons, the manifest required shall only relate to cargo to be landed or transhipped in Gibraltar. However, the Master must still answer any questions and produce a manifest of goods in transit if required by the custom officer. Once unloaded, the cargo is placed in transit sheds to be segregated and sorted by the ships agents for delivery or home use, or for re-export from Gibraltar. A free storage period of five days is allowed,after which goods are moved to a government warehouse where rent accrues.

Transhipment facilities are available in Gibraltar and no import duty is payable on goods which are declared to be in transit or for transhipment purposes.

Private pleasure crafts arriving in Gibraltar are subjected to normal customs clearance and the Master must produce to the authorities a crew list detailingthe names, nationalities, passport numbers etc. of those on board. On arrival, yachts must report to the reception berth on the starboard side of the approach to the marinas. Information about the vessel is also required and should include nationality, port of registry etc.

Crew lists should be ready before the vessels arrives in Gibraltar. There are prohibitions on importation of certain items such as flick knives, gravity knives, controlled drugs, firearms, explosives, ivory etc.

There is a 12% import duty on new vessels imported whichwill be permanently based here. Temporary importation, without payment of duty, is allowed, provided that the importer is not permanently resident in Gibraltar. Unaccompanied yachts, imported by non-residents, may remain in Gibraltar under temporary import regulations although they may be placed under customs seal until duty is paid.

Further information about Customs formalities may be obtained from The Collector of Customs Customs House Waterport Gibraltar Tel: 20078879 Fax: 20078362 Telex GIBCUS 2376

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