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‘Stick to British waters’ – Govt

Recent incidents at sea highlight the importance of law abiding citizens, who are lawfully enjoying their pleasure craft, sticking to British Gibraltar waters, the Government has said.

Alternatively, they must understand the risks they face once in international waters or Spanish waters and the laws and rules which govern activity outside BGTW.

All the sea borne agencies of the Gibraltar Government are coordinating with the Royal Gibraltar Police to give as wide a coverage as possible within BGTW.

Coordination will also include the RGP working with the Royal Navy Squadron and the Gibraltar Defence Police where appropriate.

There have been several incidents over the past week alone involving the Guardia Civil: in one instance the arrest and detention of a Gibraltarian British Citizen in international waters, and on the other the interference with the lawful right of a Gibraltar licensed pleasure fisherman.

It is also important, the Government said, that boat owners understand the importance of fully registering their vessels under the Gibraltar Red Ensign flag and, perhaps most importantly, that they should understand and obey the rules of navigation and the importance of stopping and following other instructions when asked to do so by Gibraltar's law enforcement agencies.

The Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, said: "We have and are assisting the family of the Gibraltarian detained in Ceuta through legal channels and by ensuring liaison with British Consular authorities in Spain.”

“That individual is now subject to the Spanish judicial process which must be respected as we expect the Gibraltar judicial process to be respected when nationals of another state are lawfully detained here by our law enforcement agencies.”

“The Royal Gibraltar Police and the Attorney General's office are already investigating what occurred in that incident, where exactly it occurred and what evidence may be available within Gibraltar's jurisdiction that might assist the judge in that matter to quickly determine the issues in that case and which may be relevant to bail or otherwise.”

“We share the concerns of the family, of course, for the wellbeing of the individual in question and have ensured that all appropriate and legitimate assistance that can be given is promptly provided.”

“It is not acceptable to us, however, that people should feel anything other than entirely safe when lawfully enjoying themselves at sea within BGTW. I am very happy that Commissioner Yome has reassured the Community by advising of the work the RGP is doing in coordinating the seaborne assets of all relevant agencies to ensure that all those within BGTW will feel that all that can be done is being done to curtail any attempts to improperly interfere with law abiding citizens enjoying access to the sea in their pleasure craft.”

“I fully support this initiative and the use it will give to the great investment in marine assets which this Government has provided to the RGP and all other seaborne agencies of Her Majesty's Government of Gibraltar."

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