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Unauthorized Guardia Civil Vessel Activity within British Gibraltar Territorial Waters - 467/2024

June 27, 2024

This morning, at approximately 10:30 AM, HM Customs (HMC) received a report from a local vessel alleging that a Guardia Civil vessel had entered British Gibraltar Territorial Waters (BGTW) on the eastern side. The Guardia Civil vessel attempted to board the local vessel.

In response, HMC Sentinel was deployed to the location. While on route, the crew was informed that the Guardia Civil vessel had ceased its attempt to board and had begun pursuing another local vessel. Concurrently, numerous distress calls were received from members of the public regarding the incident.

Upon HMC Sentinel's approach to the scene, the Guardia Civil vessel stopped its pursuit of the local vessel. Shortly thereafter, HMC Sentinel arrived at the location, well within the three mile limit of BGTW, and questioned the Guardia Civil Fishery Protection Vessel. They claimed to have attempted to stop a vessel allegedly fishing illegally just outside of BGTW.

The local vessel, identified as a small, white pleasure craft, was intercepted by HMC Sentinel close to the coastline on the eastern side. An HMC officer boarded the local vessel. The Guardia Civil vessel came close, attempting to come alongside, but HMC Sentinel acted as a buffer and informed them that they were inside BGTW and that HMC would take control of the situation.

HMC Sentinel escorted the local vessel back to base for further questioning and to gather more information. The two local occupants of the local vessel provided an account of the event. Upon gathering information, it was ascertained that the local vessel had incurred damage on the starboard side near the bow. HMC is liaising with other local authorities as the investigation continues.