ANOTHER nuclear submarine docked in Gibraltar just days after environmentalists warned the Rock was becoming a repair shop for ‘floating bombs’.
The USS Albany, a Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine owned by the American Navy, was docked in Gibraltar Port from December 30 until January 5.
The scheduled visit came less than three weeks after the arrival of HMS Astute provoked anger from Verdemar Ecologistas, an NGO umbrella organisation made up of more than 300 environmental groups across the Campo de Gibraltar.
They claim that the nuclear subs pose multiple threats to the environment and cite an incident in May 2000 when HMS Tireless docked in Gibraltar.
The sub developed a fault in its nuclear reactor cooling system which led to it discharging 200 litres of contaminated water into the Mediterranean Sea.
Earlier this year the environmental group complained that three nuclear subs had docked in Gibraltar within a month after HMS Artful, HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Lancaster were spotted in port near Gibraltar’s Europa Point during June and July.
“We denounce that Gibraltar’s naval basy is becoming port ‘X’, where the United Kingdom takes these ‘floating bombs’ for repairs,” the group said.
“We do not have nor do we want a nuclear emergency plan, we want them to leave.
“We are not going to stop complaining, we will act using methods that are within our reach to drive away this nuclear risk”, they said.
Aside from the visits by British naval subs, Gibraltar has been a port of call for US nuclear submarines operating in the area on at least 30 occasions in the last 20 years.
With the arrival of USS Albany, the public relations department of the US 6th Fleet issued a release after the arrival, stating that it had made a scheduled port visit to Gibraltar, without specifying the reason.