- Witnesses said they saw the submarine surface on Saturday
- Believe sub is HMS Tireless but officials refuse to confirm sighting
- Comes days after Royal Navy warship HMS Westminster arrived
Witnesses said they saw the vessel surface on Saturday as tensions between Spain and Britain continue to rise over fishing rights around the Mediterranean enclave.
The Ministry of Defence refused to confirm or deny today if a nuclear submarine is currently stationed at the enclave.
The Sun quoted an ‘insider’ as saying: ‘There is only one reason a submarine breaks the surface – and that is to be spotted.
‘These things do not show themselves unless they want to be seen.‘
Local news in Gibraltar reported that HMS Tireless sailed into the area last month for a ‘short stay as part of (the submarine’s scheduled operational tasking’.
If confirmed, it will be the first time the nuclear submarine has docked in the contested region since 2004.The docking of HMS Tireless, which is due to be decommissioned this year, sparked protests from Spanish activist nine years ago – the same year as the 300th anniversary of the capture of Gibraltar from Spain.
The submarine caused diplomatic tensions between Britain and Spain once again in 2000 when it docked in Gibraltar for a year after the submarine developed a serious leak in the nuclear reactor primary cooling circuit.
Gibraltar’s creation of an artificial reef with concrete blocks has provoked fury from Spanish fisherman, which they say blocks their access to certain waters.
Spanish police were criticised last week when they unfurled a Spanish flag during an inspection of the reef.
Full article: British nuclear submarine ‘surfaces off Gibraltar’ as row with Spain heats up (Daily Mail)