The Royal Netherlands Navy’s HNLMS Bruinvis is pictured above sailing into Gibraltar yesterday, the first Dutch submarine to dock here since 2006.
The diesel submarine arrived a day after a Dutch air force transport plane landed in Gibraltar, another unusual visit that is almost certainly linked.
HQ British Forces did not comment on the Dutch military presence here.
The Bruinvis – which means porpoise in Dutch – is a Walrus-class submarine which can carry out shallow water reconnaissance missions thanks to its small size.
As well as intelligence gathering, the vessel can be used as a base for special forces operations, to detect and attack surface ships and submarines, and to lay mines.
According to the Dutch navy, the submarines have also been used in the past to help enforce international sanctions by collecting information on shipping movements.
Walrus-class submarines carry a crew of 55.
On Sunday, the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Diamond will arrive in Gibraltar for a short visit to allow routine re-provisioning to take place.
HMS Diamond is the third of the highly capable Type 45 air defence destroyers and one of the most advanced warships in the world.
The Type 45 destroyer left Portsmouth on Wednesday evening for a deployment in support of Operation SOPHIA and will replace the Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship RFA MOUNTS BAY during a planned maintenance period. Operation SOPHIA is the EU naval operation against human smugglers and the movement of illegal arms in the Mediterranean.
Ships will be able to board, search, seize and divert vessels suspected of being used for human or illegal arms smuggling or trafficking on the high seas, in line with international law.
- The Dutch submarine HNLMS Bruinvis Pic by DM Parody
- A Royal Netherlands Air Force transport plane Pic by Moses Anahory