The latest shenanigans in Gibraltar have resulted in yet another strongly worded diplomatic protest that the government of Spain will give yet another stiff ignoring.
They are pushing the boundaries and escalating the petty harassment and the very professional and restrained countermeasures employed by the Royal Navy, Gibraltar Defence Police and Royal Gibraltar Police combined with FCO ‘limp wristedness’ are not deterring on a wider scale.
The video below from a few months ago shows these skills off to great effect.
There have been calls for a greater Royal Navy presence as well as Tomahawk strikes and 5 rounds rapid fire but as soon as we escalate in military terms it could get ugly very quickly which would serve no one.
We might draw some parallels with the Cod Wars in the 1970’s
Controlled aggression combined with constraint, seamanship and moral authority.
The difference between the seventies and today is that the Royal Navy simply cannot afford to be putting scarce frigates and destroyers into a barging match and because of the size difference it would easily be portrayed as Royal Navy bullying.
We have to tread very carefully, restraint and maintenance of the moral high ground, are essential.
Instead of sending a Type 45 Destroyer or Type 23 Frigate on an intermittent basis or when passing, how about buying or leasing two or three modern harbour tugs?
They are powerful, have amazing manoeuvrability and can be equipped with remote control high pressure water monitors. Top speed would be lower than the existing small craft but these would not go away, instead, the tugs would join in the struggle. It would simply be a case of expanding the Serco Marine Services contract, they already have the tugs in fact, but I guess they are busy (including at Gibraltar)
This is not an idea about sinking the Spanish Armada, simply providing a bit of extra muscle and an imposing physical presence.
A bit like a bouncer in a nightclub.
I was reminded that the original idea came from a TD commenter. After a search of 323 comments that contain the word ‘tug’ it seems it came from ‘Engineer Tom’ a few months ago.
Sorry about that