In regards to the issue, British Minister for Europe, David Lidington strongly condemned the "provocative incursion" and stated on Tuesday that the Spanish research vessel (RV Ramon Margalef) undertook surveying activity in British Gibraltar territorial waters on November 18 and 19 for more than 20 hours.
He added that when the vessel was challenged by radio, it responded that it was "conducting survey work with the permission of the Spanish authorities and in the interests of the European Community".
Lidington underscored, "This comes only two weeks after dangerous manoeuvres by a Spanish Guardia Civil vessel in the vicinity of Royal Navy vessels in British waters put lives at risk and resulted in a minor collision."
He also stressed that according to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the waters around Gibraltar were indisputably British territorial waters, only the UK has the right to exercise jurisdiction. He added, "I strongly condemn this provocative incursion and urge the Spanish government to ensure that it is not repeated. We stand ready to do whatever is required to protect Gibraltar’s sovereignty, economy and security. We believe that it is in the interests of Spain, Gibraltar and Britain to avoid incidents such as this, damaging the prospects for establishing dialogue and cooperation."