Fishing incident

Fishing incident

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Fishing incident

Following the receipt of information, at about 10pm on the 23rd May 2012 the Royal Gibraltar Police Marine Section deployed to the Bay of Gibraltar off South Mole and within British Gibraltar Territorial Waters (BGTW) where they detected three Spanish fishing trawlers. None of them were engaged in fishing activities.

The police launch approached the fishing vessels and informed them of the relevant provisions of the Nature Protection Act advising them that they would not be allowed to fish within BGTW. Shortly afterwards two Guardia Civil vessels arrived at the location, closely followed by an unidentified helicopter suspected to belong to a Spanish law enforcement agency.

Following requests for assistance from the RGP, maritime assets from the Gibraltar Defence Police (GDP) and the Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron (RNGS) responded and arrived at the location. Following the arrival of the additional assets the RGP together with the GDP assumed their primary role of policing Gibraltar’s laws whilst the RNGS performed its function with respect to the security of BGTW.

The RGP and GDP vessels engaged in a series of maritime manoeuvres designed to prevent the casting of the nets. During one of these manoeuvres there was a slight coming together of hulls between one of the GDP vessels and a Guardia Civil vessel. No damage was sustained by either vessel and neither crew apportioned any importance to this event. However this serves to illustrate the dangers that these types of incidents generate. The sea is a hostile operating environment and this is especially so during the night when visibility is extremely limited.

After a protracted period of inactivity two of the Spanish vessels deployed their nets. One of these malfunctioned and no fishing activity took place. The second trawler managed to retrieve its net however the combined wash of the large number of vessels in a very restricted area meant that fishing activity was severely curtailed. The vessel in question is being prosecuted. A second vessel is being prosecuted for other offences. The personal details of the individuals involved are being sought from the Guardia Civil through official channels.

At about 130am the 24th May 2012 the fishing trawlers and the Guardia Civil left BGTW. The RGP is grateful for the support received from its law enforcement and military partners as well as the Gibraltar Port Authority who also deployed maritime assets to the area.

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Fishing incident

Fishing incident

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