British Nuclear Sub Angers Spain

The HMS Tireless, a 20-year old nuclear submarine, raised a diplomatic furor in 2000 when it broke down and had to be towed to Gibraltar for repairs. It took a year to fix the cracks in its reactor cooling system, provoking protests and concerns about possible environmental hazards.

The Spanish Foreign Ministry protested to the British Ambassador to express the country's displeasure with the visit. However, the British Foreign Office stated that any Royal Navy vessel is entitled to use Gibraltar port facilities.

British presence in Gibraltar has been a source of irritation in bilateral relations since the tiny enclave was wrestled from Spain in 1704. The 300th anniversary of the British victory is to be marked on August 4th.