19:53 GMT25 January 2021
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    The HMS Talent grabbed global headlines in April when it was reported that seven crew members from the nuclear-powered UK submarine were ordered off the vessel after testing positive for cocaine while on duty.

    Spanish ecologists have claimed that by repairing its Plymouth-based nuclear submarine Talent in Gibraltar, the UK’s Royal Navy “puts the population of Campo de Gibraltar at risk” by placing Spain in the cross-hairs of a potential conflict with China or Russia.

    Additionally, the ecologists accused the Royal Navy of forcing Gibraltar into becoming “an X port, where the United Kingdom brings its submarines for repair”; according to them, engineers have no nuclear emergency plan for their work, which the ecologists say should be stopped.

    READ MORE: EU-UK Relations on the Rocks as Brussels Supports Madrid's Gibraltar Claims

    A Royal Navy spokesperson, in turn, declined to confirm or deny if the Talent submarine was currently under repair in Gibraltar.

    The Plymouth Live news outlet cited unnamed naval sources as saying that the Royal Navy “maintains the highest standards of safety at all times”  when it comes to nuclear submarine repair work.

    The news outlet noted that Plymouth remains home to 13 “retired” nuclear-powered submarines, nine of which still contain radioactive fuel.

    READ MORE: 'Outrageous Behavior': Spain Shadows UK Royal Navy Nuclear Sub Near Gibraltar

    The ecologists’ complaints about the HMS Talent come after Spain became a favourite to win a 1.2-billion-dollar Royal Navy warship contract due to the Brexit delay.

    Last month, seven of the Talent’s crew members tested positive for cocaine after they reportedly  attended a “drug-fuelled party” while the submarine was docked in Plymouth, an incident that became a major embarrassment for the Royal Navy.

    2018 has seen the Talent arriving several times at Gibraltar, where the vessel was shadowed by the Spanish coast guard.

    READ MORE: Spain Blasted as Its Warship Allegedly Plays National Anthem in Gibraltar Waters

    This came amid tensions between the UK and Spain over Brexit, with UK Prime Minister Theresa May stressing that London is committed to "always stand by Gibraltar", and that Britain "will always negotiate on behalf of the whole UK family, including Gibraltar”, which is is set to leave the European Union together with the rest of Britain.

    A small peninsula extending past the southern coast of Spain, Gibraltar has been a British Overseas Territory since 1713, when Spain ceded it to the United Kingdom under the Utrecht Treaty. The region's residents rejected the idea of Spanish sovereignty in 1967 and joint UK-Spanish authority in 2002.


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