UK warships departs as Gibraltar row heats up
AFPLONDON--British warships were due to set sail for the Mediterranean on Monday for a naval exercise that will see one vessel dock in Gibraltar, as tensions rise with Spain over the British-held territory.
August 13, 2013, 12:05 am TWN
The type 23 frigate HMS Westminster will leave Britain on Tuesday and is set to arrive in Gibraltar, at Spain's southern tip, within a week as part of what the defence ministry stressed was a “routine” and “long-planned” deployment.
Three other warships — the flagship HMS Bulwark, helicopter carrier HMS Illustrious and frigate HMS Montrose — and six supporting vessels were heading on Monday towards the Mediterranean as part of an exercise codenamed Cougar '13.
Madrid has agreed to allow HMS Illustrious to stop at a naval base in Rota in southern Spain as part of the operation, but Spanish media have described the plan for HMS Westminster to stop at Gibraltar as an intimidating move by Britain.