The UKIP MEP for the South West and Gibraltar, William the Earl of Dartmouth
, has hit back at Spain after it unveiled its latest ‘bully-boy tactic’ in the long-running dispute by planning to fine bunkering companies operating in Gibraltar waters sums of up to two million Euros and ban the sale of petroleum products to the Rock.
The move was unveiled by Spanish Environment Minister Miguel Arias Cañete
, who announced that Spain will publish new regulations that will impose fines on operators of permanently-anchored floating storage tankers and their clients.
The legislative step is designed to target operators in Gibraltar waters, even though Spain has no jurisdiction in this area of sea where two companies use large tankers to store fuel.
In response, Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said Spain had no say in waters that were defined as British by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea: “This is Spain legislating extra-territorially for something that is beyond the jurisdiction of Spain
” he told the Gibraltar Chronicle
The Earl of Dartmouth also attacked the latest steps taken by the Spanish government: “it shows the sheer contempt of Spain towards the British Government that the day after David Cameron told the world that Britain stood shoulder to shoulder with Gibraltar that they announced their latest bully boy tactic,
” he told Gibraltar Panorama
“To try and outlaw the long established practice of refuelling ships at sea, a vital part of Gibraltar's economy, and pretend it is to protect the environment takes political cynicism to new heights.”
“Let us be very clear on this issue. The waters surrounding the territory belong to Gibraltar and the Spanish have no claim or jurisdiction. Therefore the very idea that Spain has the right to interfere with bunkering or meddle with any ships providing this vital service is provocative nonsense,
” he said
“Yet again it is up to the British Government to tell Spain in no uncertain manner to cease their bully boy tactics which merely serve as a cover to divert attention away from their economic crisis.”
Labels: William Dartmouth