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Title: New scuffle between Spanish Coastguard and Gibraltar Police
Author: Fraser Trevor
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Wednesday  chasing alleged trafficers in inflatable boats.There has been another incident between the Gibraltar Police and Spanish Coastguar...

Wednesday  chasing alleged trafficers in inflatable boats.There has been another incident between the Gibraltar Police and Spanish Coastguards. The Gibraltar authorities say the scuffle came about over the persecution of inflatable boats last Wednesday in the waters around the Rock. Reports indicate that a boat from the Spanish Coastguard approached an inflatable containing three people. Another boat from the Royal Gibraltar Police, also approached the inflatable, to arrest the occupants. Such inflatable boats have been banned under Gibraltar law for some ten years, to avoid their use for drug or contraband trafficking. The Gibraltar Government has issued a statement claiming that the Spanish Coastguard ‘assisted’ the three people on the boat ‘to avoid Gibraltar jurisdiction’ in ‘Gibraltar territorial waters’. However the Spanish do not recognise such waters. While the two sides were conversing about what was going on, two other boats, ‘suspected of carrying objects of prohibited importation’ were seen going from Punta de Europa and the bay, and both the Royal Gibraltar Police and SVA started a chase. The Gibraltar Police told the Spanish Coastguard to stop their chase as they were ‘in Gibraltar territorial waters’ but this request was ignored. The Gibraltar Government considers the Spanish Coastguard assisted the traffickers, stopping their arrest by the Gibraltar Police and describing that as ‘lamentable’. The British Foreign Office has confirmed it is taking up the matter with Spain. Gibraltar First Minister, Fabian Picardo, is asking why one of the Royal Navy vessels stationed in Gibraltar did not act. The Gibraltar Government says it ‘will be seeking clarification of the actions of the Royal Navy vessel ‘Scimitar’ which, although in the area, did not assist the Gibraltar Police engaged in the events’.

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