Latest incursion by Spanish warship in to Gibraltar’s waters prompts calls to cancel visit by King Felipe VI to Buckingham Palace

A Spanish Navy warship, the Centinela, deliberately ignored radio calls from authorities on Gibraltar after it violated British territorial waters around the island on Saturday. This prompted the Royal Navy’s Gibraltar Squadron to dispatch one of its fast patrol boats, HMS Sabre, to order the vessel to leave.  It has been reported by the press in Gibraltar that this led to a potentially dangerous situation when the British patrol boat came “within yards” of being rammed by the 1,200 ton Spanish warship.

Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron HMS Sabre

The British Daily Express newspaper claimed a source within the Royal Navy told them;

Instead of leaving, she deliberately altered and re-altered her course. At one stage there was a real and imminent danger of collision.

The government on Gibraltar were quick to condemn the incident and criticised the Spanish Navy and government for the provocative act. Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said;

These silly but dangerous manoeuvres by a supposed Nato ally are operationally irresponsible, legally irrelevant and politically inopportune. They do nothing to create a positive environment for mutual co-operation and instead hark back to another century.

This latest incident comes ahead of a planned visit by Spanish King Felipe VI to the UK scheduled to take place in the middle of this month. It is the first time in over 31 years that a Spanish monarch has visited Britain but some MPs have called for the visit to be cancelled in protest to Spain’s continued disregard for Gibraltar’s sovereignty.

Conservative Andrew Rosindell, MP for the Romford constituency in Greater London, said on Sunday;

The people of Gibraltar are rightly nervous. They break the rules while we, in turn, welcome the King and Queen of Spain for a state visit. What kind of message is that for the people of Gibraltar? The people of Gibraltar are very unnerved, and rightly so. The Government needs to be much more robust.

Last weekend’s incident is only the latest in a long line of incursions in to the waters around Gibraltar by Spanish ships;

  • Tuesday July 7th 2015 – A Royal Navy RIB was damaged in a collision with the Spanish survey ship Angeles Alvarino in Gibraltar’s waters.
  • April 2016 – It was reported that a Spanish Guarda Civil patrol boat deliberately blocked a US submarine, USS Florida, as it sailed through Gibraltar’s waters forcing the Royal Navy to fire flares over the vessel to warn it off.
  • Sunday November 20th 2016 – HMS Sabre uses flares to warn off the Spanish survey ship Angeles Alvarino after attempts to contact it by radio failed.
  • Thursday April 13th 2017 – Royal Navy escorts patrol boat Infanta Cristina back to Spanish waters.
  • Saturday April 29th 2017 – The Spanish corvette ‘Cazadora’ entered waters off Gibraltar, where Royal Navy and local police launches sailed out to meet it.

Earlier this week, British Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed Britain’s continued support for Gibraltar’s sovereignty while the EU continues to demand that Spain should have influence over the British territory’s future after Brexit.

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Former guardsman nearly shot the Queen?

queen-elizabeth-iiIt has been reported by Grant Tucker of The Times Diary that the Queen was almost shot by one of her guardsman during one of her night time walks around Buckingham Palace.

Although Tucker does not reveal the name of the former guardsman who told him the story or when it happened he does reveal that the soldier in question was patrolling the grounds at around 3am when he spotted a figure in the darkness. Believing an intruder was on the ground he raised his rifle and demanded the figure identify themselves.

To his shock he heard the monarch’s voice reply that it was her to which Tucker claims the soldier said, “Bloody hell, Your Majesty, I nearly shot you!” It seems Her Majesty saw the funny side of things because Tucker says that the Queen joked that she would ring through next time she felt like a night time walk so that he wouldn’t have to shoot her.

NEWS: Duchess of Cambridge becomes Honorary Air Commandant of the Air Training Corps

Kate Middleton Air Training Corps Cadets

The Duchess of Cambridge speaks with Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty (closerweekly.com)

The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, has been named the new Honorary Air Commandant of the Air Cadets, a position previously held by Prince Phillip. She will represent the RAF’s youth organization, the Air Training Corps, of 42,000 air cadets ranging from ages 12 to 19 as well as having a say in the management of the 15,000 adult volunteers.

Commandant Air Cadets, Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty said;

We are absolutely thrilled that Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge has agreed to be our patron. Her links to the (Royal Air Force) family are already well-established and her desire to support youth development is well-recognized around the world.

Air Commodore McCafferty was referring to Kate Middleton’s husband, the Duke of Cambridge and heir to the British monarchy, Prince William, who served as an RAF search and rescue pilot flying Sea King helicopters.

For more information on the Air Training Corps click here.