Chief Minister’s Statement on Release of Tanker Grace 1

August 15, 2019 – On the 3rd July I specified the very large crude carrier, the Grace 1, under the Sanctions Regulations. The designation of the vessel arose from information providing Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar with reasonable grounds to suspect that the Grace 1 was being used in breach of applicable EU Sanctions against Syria. The information suggested that the vessel was bound for the Baniyas Oil Refinery in Syria where it would supply its cargo of 2.1m barrels of crude oil to the Assad regime. At 2am on…

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HMS Forth Visits Gibraltar

August 1, 2019 – HMS Forth has paid her first visit to Gibraltar as the Portsmouth-based patrol vessel continues to write the ‘operators’ manual’ for the five-strong class of warships. With the unmistakable outline of The Rock behind her, the UK’s newest operational warship debuts in the Mediterranean. The 2,000-tonne ship began operations this spring after an intensive period of training off western Scotland. She’s conducted her inaugural fishery protection patrol and inspected trawlers, and shadowed a Russian warship through the Channel as part of her role safeguarding home waters.…

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Rock Solid Protection from Gibraltar Squadron

July 31, 2019 – The Royal Navy’s guardians of The Rock have received a glowing annual report – just as souped-up HMS Scimitar returns to the water. The Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron successfully completed its annual Operational Sea Training – a week designed to ensure it is ready for operations in and around the UK’s overseas territory. Across seven days, all 26 personnel from fast patrol boats Scimitar and Sabre and three Pacific 24 RHIBS, were put through intense training by expert assessors from the Flag Officer Sea Training organization…

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Gibraltar Condemns Illegal Spanish Naval Incursion into BGTW

February 18, 2019 – The Government condemns the incursion by the Spanish Navy (ESPS Tornado) into British Gibraltar Territorial Waters (BGTW) yesterday. This is yet another senseless provocation that achieves nothing expect generating an atmosphere of mistrust and hostility which benefits nobody. The Spanish Foreign Ministry is now itself on record as having confirmed that the communications in question were made by their naval vessel because the commercial ships in question were, according to them, inside Spanish waters. The reality is that the merchant vessels were in BGTW when they…

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HMS Albion heads home after Gibraltar pit stop

November 20m 2018 – After nearly ten months away, UK flagship HMS Albion is homeward bound for Plymouth having completed her final port of call. The assault ship spent three days in Gibraltar, last stop before home and the end of a mammoth deployment which has taken her to Tokyo and back. After a number of stops in the Asia-Pacific region and Middle East – Indonesia, South Korea, a lengthy period in Japan, Vietnam, Brunei and Oman amongst others – Albion called in on The Rock and a traditional last…

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Hangar first for HMS Queen Elizabeth as she weathers stormy seas in Biscay

For the first time ever a giant RAF Chinook helicopter has been stowed in the hangar of a British aircraft carrier. With the nose protruding over the edge of one of HMS Queen Elizabeth’s two mighty aircraft lifts, the 99ft-long helicopter from RAF 7 Squadron was moved from the flight to the hangar deck. So large are the lifts and hangar spaces on the new Portsmouth-based warship that there’s no need even to fold the rotors. There ZH902 – a special trials variant of the Chinook – was joined by…

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Gibraltar Squadron rewarded for constantly guarding the Rock’s waters

The boats of the Gibraltar Squadron can now hoist the Fleet Efficiency Flag – a small blue and white pennant – on their RIBs and HM Ships Sabre and Scimitar as they zip around the waters of the Rock. Two dozen sailors and Royal Marines operate some of the smallest vessels in the Royal Navy’s inventory – which are also the most effective. The squadron ended 2016 as the second most effective inshore patrol unit in the RN (up against 1st Patrol Boat Squadron and its P2000s which give university…

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Armed Forces Minister reinforces UK support to Gibraltar

Minister for the Armed Forces, Mark Lancaster, arrived in Gibraltar November 8th. He will meet Gibraltar Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, Deputy Governor, Nick Pyle OBE, as well as service personnel stationed in the UK overseas territory as part of a visit to discuss Brexit and the role of the UK’s military in Gibraltar. Minister for the Armed Forces, Mark Lancaster, said, “Gibraltar is of great importance to the UK, our Armed Forces and our allies. It has provided vital assistance to operations and exercises over the years, perhaps best demonstrated…

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HMS Ocean tracks weather as she speeds to hurricane zone

HMS Ocean is heading into the ‘Atlantic hurricane conveyor belt’ at top speed as she races to deliver crucial aid to Britons in the Caribbean. Filled with aid from the UK and Gibraltar Governments – trucks, food, temporary shelters, building materials and toys – the helicopter carrier is following in the wake of Hurricane Maria, the latest storm to smash its way through the islands of the Caribbean. Ocean is due to reach the region at the end of the week, which has meant the staff of her Hydrographic Meteorological…

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