A Royal Navy vessel asserted its right to train in international waters on Saturday after it was approached by a Spanish warship during a gunnery exercise several miles off the east side of the Rock.
Photographs on social media show the Spanish patrol boat SPS Audaz near to the Gibraltar Squadron’s HMS Sabre while it was conducting a planned routine firing exercise.
Some of the photos appear to show the vessels in dangerously-close proximity as live rounds are being fired.
But the UK’s Ministry of Defence said both were at a safe distance at the time of the incident, which occurred outside British Gibraltar territorial waters.
“The MoD can confirm that British Forces Gibraltar personnel carried out a planned routine training exercise in international waters on Saturday 25 May,” a spokesman for the MoD told the Chronicle.
“As always, safety protocols were followed.”
The spokesman also confirmed that there was communication with the Spanish vessel during the training exercise.
“The Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron asserted their right to exercise in international waters and continued to do so,” the spokesman added.
“The images shows both vessels in international waters where they were safely positioned in relation to each other during the exercise firings.”
“British Forces Gibraltar personnel were able to complete their pre-planned training.”
MAIN PHOTO: Gibdan