Spain has sparked outrage by tailing Royal Navy nuclear submarine HMS Talent as it left Gibraltar on a secret mission.
The submarine was being shadowed by a Spanish ship after pulling away from its moorings on Friday in an action that may be in breach of maritime law, The Sun reports.
In response, another British ship was scrambled to intercept the Spanish vessel to make sure it stayed away from HMS Talent, which had reportedly had its Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) stores replenished.
A source on Gibraltar told the tabloid: “It’s outrageous behaviour yet again from Spain.
“Their boat was landside and shouldn’t have been there. It only pulled off once the Royal Navy boat came towards it.”
The Trafalgar-class nuclear submarine can carry up to 30 Tomahawks, which are long-range, all-weather, subsonic cruise missiles used in land-attack operations.
Gibraltar, also referred to as The Rock, is a small peninsula on the southern tip of Spain and has been a British Overseas Territory since 1713 when Spain ceded it to Britain “in perpetuity” under article X of the Treaty of Utrecht during the War of Spanish Succession.
This is the latest act of sabre-rattling by the Spaniards since the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU in 2016, with the Iberian nation still obsessed with regaining the territory despite its’ residents strong desire to remain British.
Senior Eurocrat Applauds Spanish Warship ‘Invading’ Gibraltar Waters https://t.co/vdj4ZA8fvZ
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 7, 2018
Earlier this month, the Infanta Elena warship, a Descubierta-class corvette, blasted a Spanish anthem as it trespassed through Gibraltar’s waters.
In November, a Royal Navy vessel fired a warning flare after a Spanish Guardia Civil ship got too close to HMS Talent, and the month before the Spanish harassed the Los Angeles class USS Newport News submarine as she visited Gibraltar.
In late November, the British government accepted conditions imposed by Spain as it tried to get EU leaders to support its Brexit Withdrawal Agreement which allowed Madrid to have a say in the future of the territory in UK-EU negotiations.
Spain’s socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez claimed victory over the British, saying: “We are going to resolve a conflict that has been going for over 300 years.”
“[The deal] puts Spain in a position of strength in negotiations with the United Kingdom over Gibraltar that we have not had until now… regarding Gibraltar, Spain wins,” Sánchez added.