Video: Warship blasts Spanish anthem while sailing through Gibraltar waters

A Spanish military ship has angered Gibraltarian authorities after playing the Spanish national anthem at top volume while sailing past The Rock.

Video: Warship blasts Spanish anthem while sailing through Gibraltar waters
Screenshot: Twitter

Crew onboard Spanish warship Infanta Elena chose to raise Gibraltarian pulses even further on Tuesday, at a time when The Rock’s post-Brexit fate remains very much lost at sea. 

In a video posted on Twitter by Gibraltarian Nicholas Karnani (under the handle @Atajate71), the military vessel is seen cruising in waters around El Peñón (The Rock) whilst blasting the Spanish national anthem through the ship’s megaphone. 

The video has been watched more than 114,000 times, receiving a wave of criticism from British commentators who see it as an unnecessary provocation by Spain’s navy. 

According to Spanish Defense sources, the Infanta Elena was carrying out maritime surveillance through Spanish waters, although the country’s government doesn’t actually recognize that Gibraltar has any waters it can call its own, as stated in the 1713 Ultrecht Treaty. 

Numerous reports in the Spanish press also state that the ship’s commander decided to play Spain’s famously word-free anthem in response to the UK’s God Save the Queen being broadcast on a radio frequency meant only for emergency calls. 

UK Defence Journal writes that the warship was in Gibraltarian waters and that the provocation came just from the Spanish side. 

There are also other sources such as the UK’s Foreign Office who call into question the whole version of events, even disputing whether the footage and more specifically the sound is authentic. 

Gibraltar’s government is yet to release a statement after the incident but The Rock’s Information Service Centre in Spain did tweet: “Sailing through shamelessness and childishness, that’s the Infanta Elena singing the praises of Spain in British waters in Gibraltar.”

The ship’s commander is likely to face disciplinary action for the provocation, Spanish daily El País reports.

SEE ALSO: Gibraltar – How Brexit could change its sense of British identity 



Gibraltar holds referendum on its draconian abortion laws

Gibraltar heads to the polls on Thursday to vote on plans to ease abortion laws which currently carry possible life sentences for offenders, in a referendum delayed for over a year by the coronavirus pandemic.

Gibraltar holds referendum on its draconian abortion laws
A woman wears a t-shirt reading " Gibraltar for Yes!" outside a polling station in Gibraltar, on June 24, 2021. Photo: Jorge Guerrero/AFP

The issue has exposed sharply opposing views within this tiny, normally closely-knit British enclave at the southernmost tip of Spain, which is home to some 32,000 people.

The referendum was initially slated for March 19 2020 but a week ahead of the vote it was postponed as virus cases began spiralling at the start of the pandemic.Except in cases where it would save the mother’s life, abortion is currently banned in Gibraltar on pain of life imprisonment, although such a penalty has not been applied in modern times.

The government is proposing changes to the law to allow abortion where a woman’s mental or physical health is at risk — such as in cases of rape or incest — or when foetuses have fatal physical defects.

Although the changes have already been approved by Gibraltar’s parliament, the referendum will decide whether or not that amended law be brought into force.

Under the changes, a woman would be able to undergo an abortion up to 12 weeks into her pregnancy if her mental or physical health is deemed at risk, or beyond if such damage would be grave and permanent.

There would be no time limit on cases involving fatal foetal anomaly.

Until now, women wanting to have an abortion have had to travel to Spain or to Britain to undergo the procedure.

Chief Minister of Gibraltar Fabian Picardo and his wife Justine Olivero leave a polling station after casting their ballots. Photo: JORGE GUERRERO/AFP

– ‘In Gibraltar’s best interests’ –

Ahead of the vote, both sides have been campaigning hard, with Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and two other party leaders releasing a video urging people to vote “Yes” to the proposed amendment to the crimes act that will regulate abortions in Gibraltar.

“My personal, professional & political opinion on the abortion referendum: it is in #Gibraltar’s best interests to #VoteYes on Thursday 24th June,” Picardo tweeted.

“No” campaigners have also been rallying support with hundreds of people dressed in pink and purple joining a pro-life “Save Babies, vote no” march through the city centre last week, chanting “We vote no!”

On the ballot, voters will be asked: “Should the Crimes (Amendment) Act 2019, that defines the circumstances which would allow abortion in Gibraltar, come into force?”

If the changes are approved, the law is expected to take effect fairly quickly although officials have not yet laid out a timeline.

The proposed changes came after Britain’s Supreme Court ruled in June 2018 that Northern Ireland’s abortion laws, which at the time were almost identical to Gibraltar’s, were incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

“It is therefore clear that if the equivalent law on abortion in Northern Ireland was in breach of the Convention, our identical, archaic law is too,” wrote Picardo in an op-ed in Wednesday’s Gibraltar Chronicle.

“It is our duty to vote to stop this ongoing breach.”

Picardo has said he believed the changes were long overdue and that the plans would be approved “by a very large majority”.