US submarine sparks fury in Gibraltar as ecologists demand emergency plan is activated

An organisation called Verdemar Ecologistas en Acción requested on Tuesday that the Nuclear Emergency Plan and the Environmental Radiological Surveillance Groups should be activated. This was because of the presence of the USS Florida SSGN 728 US nuclear propulsion submarine at the Gibraltar military base. Environmentalists in a statement that its movements were recorded from the Bay of Algeciras to the Alboran Sea.

They added that the movements “suggested that work is being done” in the submarine.

Verdemar warned that “it is not the first time that damaged submarines dock at Gibraltar military base”.

They added that “episodes of radioactive contamination can’t be ruled out”.

Ecologists are also worried the military port of Gibraltar “is becoming an ‘X’ port, where the United Kingdom sends submarines to be repaired”.

They said: “This type of work on nuclear submarines in Gibraltar is putting at risk the population of Campo de Gibraltar and the Strait of Gibraltar.”

Verdemar have now called for “Gibraltar to be once and for all free of nuclear-powered devices and other ships that are floating bombs”.

They also argued that “Spain must make this clear in the Brexit negotiations.”

Earlier in September  a Spanish customs boat was intercepted by a Gibraltar Defence Police vessel after it came too close to the US submarine USS Newport News.

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HMS Talent moved from its mooring in December for a secret mission.

But it was followed by the Spanish vessel, which was in clear breach of maritime regulations.

A Royal Navy boat was then sent out to make sure the Spanish did not come any closer.

The Royal Navy ships of the Gibraltar Squadron are often called into action to intercept Spanish naval vessels.

This is due to them getting too close to the British territory.

HMS Talent can hold up to 30 deadly Tomahawk missiles which are capable of obliterating ground targets.

A source on Gibraltar said at the time: “Its outrageous behaviour yet again from Spain.

“Their boat was land-side and shouldn’t have been there. It only pulled off once the Royal Navy boat came towards it.”