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Police probe Sandy Bay grounding incident

The circumstances of how a fast police boat ran aground on a submerged reef off Sandy Bay beach on Friday night are under investigation, the Royal Gibraltar Police confirmed.

The RGP no one was injured when the 13-metre interceptor vessel Sir Francis Richards hit the reef between the beach’s two groynes at low tide last Friday at 9pm while patrolling Gibraltar’s coastline.

A detailed and thorough assessment of the damage is ongoing, a police spokesman told the Chronicle.

“We need to understand what went wrong and if there are any lessons to be learnt,” the RGP spokesman added.

The damage although visible will not be known until an assessment of the internal mechanics of the vessel is completed.

The vessel spent several hours stuck on the reef before it was refloated with assistance from other law enforcement agencies.

“The Sir Francis Richards made its way back to its base at Gun Wharf under its own power,” the RGP spokesman said.

“None of the crew were injured and any damage that may have been occasioned is still to be assessed.”

He added: “We are currently looking into the circumstances that led to the vessel running aground on the submerged reef section of the groyne at Sandy Bay.”

The Royal Gibraltar Police, together with other law enforcement agencies both in Gibraltar and neighbouring Spain, have been kept busy in recent weeks against the backdrop of a surge in drug trafficking activity coinciding with the cannabis harvest in Morocco.

So far this month Gibraltar’s law enforcement agencies have responded to 30 incidents of suspected RHIB activity in British Gibraltar territorial waters.

There is no indication at this stage, however, that the police vessel was engaged in a pursuit at the time of the incident.

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