A Royal Navy warship is due to leave Portsmouth later for a "routine" visit to Gibraltar amid increased tensions with Spain over border checks. HMS Westminster is due to dock at the British territory within a week as part of an annual deployment, Cougar 13.
It comes as increased vehicle checks at the border with Spain have led to delays for tourists and residents.
The Ministry of Defence said the visit was "long-planned" as part of "a range of regular and routine deployments". Spain's foreign ministry agreed it was a "routine" visit, adding that the UK government had asked for permission to stop over at the Rota naval base, which is near the Strait of Gibraltar in south-west Spain.
...The BBC's Spain correspondent, Tom Burridge, said that - while both London and Madrid had played down the timing of the visit - the boats would be arriving at a sensitive moment for British-Spanish relations, amid a diplomatic row over the territory's status and the waters nearby.