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Customs vessel recovers Guardia Civil tender boat lost during chase

Photo by Johnny Bugeja

A Customs vessel from Gibraltar recovered a small tender boat that had fallen off a Guardia Civil launch during a high-speed chase south of Gibraltar.

The small rigid-hulled inflatable boat, which is normally tied to the rear deck of the larger Guardia Civil, was spotted drifting off Europa Point by personnel at Windmill Hill signal station, who contacted HM Customs Marine Section late Tuesday afternoon.

A Customs was despatched and a Gibraltar Squadron vessel in the area also attended.

“The recovered RHIB appeared to be a law enforcement vessel, since it bore the Spanish flag on the collar and carried a blue beacon,” a spokesman for Customs told the Chronicle.

“Enquiries were commenced with the Guardia Civil and Spanish Customs to ascertain if it belonged to them.”

As the Customs vessel towed the RHIB back to base, it was approached by the Guardia Civil patrol boat Rio Navia at around 5.05pm.

“They informed our crew that they had been chasing a suspect RHIB South of Gibraltar and later realised that they had lost the tender RHIB in question, which at the time was mounted on top of the larger one,” the Customs spokesman added.

“Satisfied with the explanation, the small vessel was returned.”

“The Spanish crew thanked our officers, placed their tender on tow and headed north towards Puerto Alcaidesa. The Navy RHIB escorted them until they left BGTW.”

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