'British Armada' helps see off fishermen
Royal Navy ships yesterday helped see off a skirmish involving Spanish fishermen at Gibraltar as a South West MEP called for a top ranking Royal to visit the territory.
William Dartmouth of UKIP said "nothing could demonstrate more to the citizens of Gibraltar how strongly Britain stands behind them" than a visit from Royalty.
He said the timing was particularly moot in that this year's marks the 300th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht which gave Britain sovereignty over the outpost just off the Spanish coast.
His call came as Royal Navy ships which are part of the Cougar 2013 exercise and led by Devonport-based HMS Bulwark, called into the island.
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In a deployment billed by the Spanish media as the British Armada, the ships were involved in a stand-off with a flotilla of Spanish fishermen and pleasure boats which attempted to sail into Gibraltan waters.
The fishermen are angry about concrete blocks sunk off Gibraltar to create an artificial reef designed to boost fish stocks but which will prevent the Spanish scouring the seabed for shellfish in an activity Gibraltar authorities claim is illegal.