Spanish Ship in 'Heated' Standoff with Royal
Navy in Gibraltar
Once again we we are treated to another example of how nations that should
otherwise know better can't seem to understand the primacy of effective settlement
over proximity in territorial disputes. Gibraltar passed from Spanish hands to English
hands hundreds of years ago in a long ago war. Before that possession passed back
and forth between various powers going all the way back to the Phoenicians.
Modern Spain neither discovered or continuously occupied the territory. There have
been small towns associated with the military fortifications but nothing like the
present situation has ever existed before.
Today we are several generations into local inhabitants on Gibraltar. There are
roughly 30,000 inhabitants of the town of Gibraltar. They have a say in who governs
them. Mostly they govern themselves but they have voted on their situation twice
once in the late 20th century and more recently in the 21st. They have elected to
maintain the status quo as a self governing over seas territory of Great Britain and
have categorically rejected affiliation with Spain. Spain, an EU and NATO member
still presses its claim on Gibraltar as part of its sovereign territory despite having
no valid claim under international law. The truly insane part of the Spanish claim is
that Spain holds a number of extra territorial possessions very similar in situation
to that of Gibraltar.
In North Africa Spain holds the cities of Ceuta and Mellia, the very arguments that
Spain puts forward to force their sovereignty upon 30,000 unwilling inhabitants of
Gibraltar could easily be applied by Morocco to these two cities. Less well known
is the Spanish extraterritorial enclave of Llivia located entirely within France. Most
close to a mirror image of Gibraltar is the island of Alboran literally within the EEZ
waters of Morocco but Spanish territory for centuries. Unlike Gibraltar there is no
town there. The island is home to a small Spanish naval garrison and an automated
light house. All of the bogus arguments that Spain puts forward to demand Gibraltar
could be well applied to a number of their territories. Surely Spain would resist such
claims but can't see the self destructive course they are on relative to Gibraltar.
The MARITIME EXECUTIVE has the latest details of the most recent confrontation
involving a Spanish oceanographic research vessel that violated Gibraltar's territorial
waters and refused to leave when directed to do so. Click on the link below for the full