British warship arrives in Gibraltar amid tension

British warship arrives in Gibraltar amid tension rise over artificial reef

Associated Press
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With the rock of Gibraltar in the background, Britain's Royal Navy ship HMS Westminster sails along the Gibraltar stretch near to La Linea de la Concepcion, Spain, Monday, Aug. 19, 2013. The British government said it is considering taking Spain to court if it does not ease border checks on traffic entering the disputed enclave of Gibraltar. Spain has long laid claim to Gibraltar, and the tiny territory on the southern tip of the Iberian peninsula is the source of occasional diplomatic friction between Madrid and London. The latest spat involved an artificial reef being built in Gibraltar that Spain said is hurting its fishermen. It also floated the idea of charging people entering and leaving Gibraltar 50 euros ($66) to provide compensation for the losses that the fishermen face. (AP Photo/Laura Leon)

GIBRALTAR (AP) -- A British navy warship has arrived in the disputed territory of Gibraltar, coinciding with a souring of relations between Madrid and London in a row over an artificial reef that Spain says affects its fishermen.

The HMS Westminster frigate docked at a British naval base Monday and is in the area to take part in in pre-planned naval exercises in the Mediterranean.

Its arrival came a day after fishermen in some 60 fishing boats protested the building of the reef.

The dispute has led to a spike in tensions, with Spain saying it will take all legal measures to defend its interests.

Spain ceded sovereignty of Gibraltar to Britain in 1713, but has persistently sought its return.

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