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.
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.
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.
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.