Sunborn Hotel Gibraltar on fire

Sunborn Hotel Gibraltar on fire

Sunday 28th Dec 2014 smoke bellowed around the rock of Gibraltar from the five star Sunborn floatel.  Emergency services managed to get the situation under control but the exact cause of the fire is still unknown so far.  The trade entrance and porter cabin have been destroyed as can be seen from our exclusive photos below.

Sunborn Hotel Gibraltar fire damage

Sunborn Hotel Gibraltar fire damage

Thankfully no-one was hurt.  As can be seen from our exclusive photos the hull side seems considerably blackened but damage of the interior is also unknown at this time.  By clicking on the photo above you can download a high resolution to enable zoom and examine the damage in detail.

Sunborn floatel fire damage 2014

Sunborn floatel fire damage 2014

Gibraltar honours list

Gibraltar honours list

Nominations for Her Majesty the Queen’s New Years Honours list for 2015 closed yesterday Friday 16th May 2014.

Gibraltar, being UK jurisdiction, holds her own successful nominees but how many will make it onto next years list?

How does the selection process work?

Anyone can nominate a candidate and submit :

a persuasive account of the outstanding or innovative or self-sacrificing services and achievements of the nominee, whether paid or unpaid, in one field or several, and what has raised them above those of others performing similar services.

People are awarded honours for:

People get honours for achievements like:

  • making a difference to their community or field of work
  • enhancing Britain’s reputation
  • long-term voluntary service
  • innovation and entrepreneurship
  • changing things, with an emphasis on achievement
  • improving life for people less able to help themselves
  • displaying moral courage and doing difficult things

Honours are given to people involved in different activities, including:

  • community, voluntary and local services
  • arts and media
  • health
  • sport
  • education
  • science and technology
  • business and the economy
  • civil or political service

Once nominations are closed they are scrutinized for suitability.  All nominees will be checked by various government departments to make sure they’re suitable for receiving an honour. This may include checks by HM Revenue and Customs.  So squeaky clean and no black marks, poor decisions or dubious behaviour allowed.

It’s not just toffs that get to nominate, you can too, so have your say and nominate someone you feel is really deserving.

For an online nomination form to nominate someone in Gibraltar use this link. Nominate

or simply email 

Even though the closing date for 2015 has passed there will be another opportunity to nominate for 2016.  Who would you nominate?  Perhaps Gibraltar herself deserves to be on the honours list for services to the United Kingdom.

The Gibraltar Flag

The Gibraltar Flag

gib flag  union flag  eu flagspanish flag

The flag of Gibraltar is a wonderful representation of all that the United Kingdom holds dear.  The simple values of equality, freedom, freedom of speech, tolerance, to set an example of dignity when all around are losing theirs.  That is the strength of the UK, and Gibraltar IS UK make no mistake about that.  And is as British as the UK itself.

But a recent event has left a nasty smear on this good name.  The arrest of two Spanish journalists Wed 14th May 2014, in Gibraltar for simply flying a spanish flag!

What, we hear the subjects back home say?  Yes it is true, apparently.  Has anyone ever heard of someone being arrested on Bognor beach, or Camber Sands for flying a French, Spanish, other EU state flag, or even a flag of any country?  Not that we know of.  This is a first and a dark moment for the good name of the UK.

Have Gibraltar and the Royal Gibraltar Police taken leave of their senses?

Despite the bickering and rows between Gibraltar and Spain, Gibraltar has always held her head high and lead the way in setting a good example.  She has sat patiently in long hot queues for hour upon hour without lowering herself.  So why this incredible over-reaction.

Allegedly members of the public were stone throwing, it is not clear if any arrests were made over these alleged assaults, but statements are that the two spanish journalists were arrested for allegedly ‘causing a breach of the peace’.

It is as unclear that if any tourist were to mistakenly wear a spanish T-shirt, or perhaps commit the heinous crime of supporting Real Madrid in Gibraltar, would they too spend a few hours in the grisly cells at the hands of the RGP?  We certainly hope not.

Bad management can lead to the most catastrophic damage to the good name and reputation of Gib.  Poor judgement indeed.  We have certainly heard of weirder arrests in Gibraltar, but they are other stories.  Perhaps the motto of the Metropolitan Police could help as some guidance Fidelity, Bravery, and Integrity.

In contrast to the over-reaction of the RGP, Facebook groups are hardly alive with talk of this incident, with only one mild mention found.  As Wednesday was a school and work day the beach at Catalan could hardly have been brimming with bathers!

The more pressing and urgent question is will this incident have ramifications for the good people of Gibraltar when in Spain?  Will there be retaliation to this childish incident?  We certainly hope not.  And what does the Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo think about all this?  Does he support the RGP on this one, or will quiet whispers of advice filter back down the ranks to prevent this type of behaviour in the future?  Only Mr Picardo can answer that one.

Fabian Picardo in Casemates 29th June 2013, exclusive photo property of Gibraltar Tourism.

Fabian Picardo in Casemates 29th June 2013, exclusive photo property of Gibraltar Tourism.

No matter what childish provocation there is from self styled troublemaking journalists, grown ups are taught not to rise to it.  Spain is an EU cousin, like it or lump it, and remember worse things happen in Syria!  Where have all the grown ups gone?

This is NOT one of Gibraltars finest hours.

Gibraltar earthquakes

Gibraltar earthquakes

The Strait of Gibraltar and surrounding seas have regular, but minor, quakes.  Below are a list of the most recent years to give you some idea of frequency, strength and area.

earth    earth2


earth3  earth4

Earthquakes in the area are regular, so today’s Mag 3 is nothing out of the ordinary.    But is it any indicator of something more to come in the future?  Clearly it’s a delicate spot as the narrowest point between Europe and Africa and the two continents pushing one under the other.

It is anyones guess as to whether there is a serious earthquake to come, and more to the point any tsunamis created by such an event.  Back in 1755 there was a great earthquake that devastated much of the region including Portugal, particularly Lisbon.  As the quake struck the sea drained away, to the horror of the people, but 40 minutes later returned with vengeance in the form of a tsunami.

It is not clear if Gibraltar has any early warning systems or procedures in place in such an event but it might be something worth thinking about.  Reportedly waves the height of 20 meters swept along the coast of north Africa (Morocco), so one dreads to think how La Linea faired, or how down town Gib would do if such a thing were to happen.

The tsunami even made it all the way to Cornwall with waves 3 meters high!  Just goes to show how volatile the Azores-Gibraltar fault and Gibraltar Arc are.

1755 may sound like a long time ago but not really in the world of seismology.  Food for thought.

We’re ready to go – Chuck Hagel

We’re ready to go – Chuck Hagel

Chuck Hagel says US is 'ready to go' BBC interview

Chuck Hagel says US is ‘ready to go’ BBC interview

Breaking news only minutes ago, Chuck Hagel, US Secretary of Defence, has stated in an interview with the BBC, that America is ‘ready to go’, when asked if President Obama were to give the order to attack Syria, are they in a position to do so at the press of a button?

This in the wake of allegations that chemical weapons have been used in Syria by the Syrian Regime and not the rebels and Russia growling in the background … actually slightly more than growling.

Russian convoy passes through Strait of Gibraltar 2012


But for anyone who’s not been paying attention to the Syrian issue on the news please watch the following youtube film by SourceFed who sum the whole thing up eloquently, and then read on …


Over the past few months at least both Russia and the US have been strategically positioning naval forces in and around the Mediterranean, not to mention Cameron using all the political smoke screen that Gibraltar has to offer in sending naval warships into the Mediterranean under the guise of the Gibraltar border queues, as rightly predicted by months ago something else is going down!

The UK has been preparing it’s warships for any attack or action on Syria.

So how will all these developments affect Gibraltar?  The latest hostilities with Spain will of course disolve.  All ridiculous talk of fighting a neighbour, no matter how long the arguement of Gibraltar has been going on, will disappear, and quite rightly too, because we are EU neighbours and allies with Spain.  Spain and the UK have been allies for years, and as Gib is part of the UK, so Gib is an allie, and a very important one.

We have Moron Airbase and Rota naval base not far away, as published by back in May of this year, suddenly the increased US military presence is clear.

Although Gib likes to be quite insular, shut her eyes and ears to what is really going on in the rest of the world and continue pretending that we’re all still living in the 1950’s, there’s no denying that something serious is about to happen, or at least could.  And things have definately been building for quite some time.

Wonder why Russia suddenly decides to pay a friendly visit to the beautiful island of Cuba at this precise moment in time???

All any of us can do is watch and wait.  But one thing is for certain, all the problems in Syria kinda put the bickering between Spain and Gib into a tiny little box, an infinitesimal  one at that.

Author John Middleton –

Gibraltar spanish fishermen protest exclusive photos

Gibraltar spanish fishermen protest  –  exclusive photos property of

Exclusive to spanish fishermen, Guardia Civil in UK waters Gibraltar conducting protest

Exclusive to spanish fishermen, Guardia Civil in UK waters Gibraltar conducting protest

Exclusive to spanish fishermen, Guardia Civil in UK waters Gibraltar conducting protest

Exclusive to spanish fishermen, Guardia Civil in UK waters Gibraltar conducting protest

Gibraltarian onlookers flying the Union Flag

Gibraltarian onlookers flying the Union Flag exclusive property of




Exclusive to spanish fishermen, Guardia Civil in UK waters Gibraltar conducting protest

Exclusive to spanish fishermen, Guardia Civil in UK waters Gibraltar conducting protest


Exclusive to spanish fishermen, Guardia Civil in UK waters Gibraltar conducting protest

Exclusive to spanish fishermen, Guardia Civil in UK waters Gibraltar conducting protest


Exclusive to spanish fishermen, Guardia Civil in UK waters Gibraltar conducting protest

Exclusive to spanish fishermen, Guardia Civil in UK waters Gibraltar conducting protest

Exclusive to spanish fishermen, Guardia Civil in UK waters Gibraltar conducting protest

Exclusive to spanish fishermen, Guardia Civil in UK waters Gibraltar conducting protest


Exclusive to spanish fishermen, Guardia Civil in UK waters Gibraltar conducting protest

Exclusive to spanish fishermen, Guardia Civil in UK waters Gibraltar conducting protest




Gibraltar UK warships

Gibraltar UK warships

Send us gunboats is the headline in the Express on 21st July 13, as Fabian Picardo calls for a greater presence of UK navy to protect Gibraltar, after the jetski incident.

Fabian Picardo in Casemates 29th June 2013, exclusive photo property of Gibraltar Tourism.

Fabian Picardo in Casemates 29th June 2013, exclusive photo property of Gibraltar Tourism.

As rightly predicted in a previous article Mediterranean war – Gibraltar the call for an increase in UK military presence was inevitable, but what is the real reason behind it?

It will be interesting to see any official response from David Cameron to Mr Picardo’s plea in the days to come.  Either the UK will offer vocal support and sympathy and nothing else, or they will indeed send support, but if the latter will it be for protection of Gibraltarians against neighbouring and EU Spain, or will there be another subject on the adjenda?  Perhaps Russia, Syria, Cyprus …

At the same moment in time the Royal Navy takes receipt of the new Merlin helicopter fleet.  Interesting times.



John Middleton –

Mediterranean war – Gibraltar

Mediterranean war – Gibraltar

As David Cameron joins in on the jet-ski shooting,  Russia is in the process of securing a European naval base for a fleet of warships in the Mediterranean.

Is something building as Russia flexes it’s muscles in Mediterranean?

2012 – A convoy of Russian warships pass through the Strait of Gibraltar headed for Tartus, Russian naval base in war torn Syria.

Russian convoy passes through Strait of Gibraltar 2012

But Russia is now looking to gain a strong foothold on the EU island of Cyprus.

Russia is in the midst of negotiations for a military presence on Cyprus. In addition to being part of a plan to build up its naval forces, analysts say Moscow needs to find an alternative to its base in Syria.

Reports that Russia is withdrawing all military personnel from its naval base in Syria and replacing them with civilian workers are wrong, the Russian Defense Ministry announced on Thursday (27.06.2013) in Moscow. There is no need for the military to be based in Tartus, a city on Syria’s Mediterranean coast, the press release said, “because maintenance of Russian warships was taken over by civilians long ago.”

According to the ministry’s statement, Tartus would remain Russia’s naval base within the Mediterranean. But at the same time Moscow is clearly preparing for a loss. It has long been speculated that Russia, in the event of a regime change in Damascus, would give up the Tartus base. And now it seems they have found an alternative.

Cyprus instead of Syria

The Russian government is in negotiations with Cyprus about extending their military cooperation. The Russian Air Force could use a base in Paphos, Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said in an interview with the “Voice of Russia” radio station on Monday (24.06.2013). Cyprus and Russia will discuss the specifics soon, the Cypriot diplomat added. Military cooperation agreements could be signed within the coming months.

“This is certainly connected to Tartus,” Margarete Klein of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs says. “Even if the Russian government assumes Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will retain power, it could change in the future.”

Moscow  missile cruiser

Meanwhile, Russia’s navy is paying an increasing number of visits to Cypriot ports. On June 19, three warships docked in the port of Limassol to refuel and replenish supplies. In May, it was the “Moscow” missile cruiser, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet and the vessel that in July will take over command for the Russian Navy’s 16 ships in the Mediterranean.

Russia’s favorite in the Mediterranean

It’s no surprise to observers that Russia is looking at Cyprus for a Mediterranean base as the countries have close economic ties and Cyprus is still regarded as a tax haven for Russian companies. A few years ago, Russia loaned Cyprus billions in credit. In spring 2013, when the EU country was on the brink of national bankruptcy due to high debt, Cyprus’ leader went to Moscow to negotiate a new round of loans. Both sides couldn’t agree in that case and in the end, the European Union bailed out the island.

Back then there was speculation that Russia would offer the credit to Cyprus with the condition that the countries would expand their military cooperation. Should such an agreement come to fruition in the future, it would be a turning point. Almost 20 years have passed since Russia had a military presence in a current EU country.

In Soviet footsteps

Experts put Moscow’s plans in Cyprus in a larger context. “Russia wants to re-establish itself as a great power,” said Klein of the SWP.

Russia wants to build a permanent naval presence in the Mediterranean by 2015. President Vladimir Putin described the Mediterranean as a “strategic region” in which Russia has its own interests.

During the Soviet era, between 30 and 60 Russian naval vessels were tasked with keeping US Sixth Fleet at bay. In 1992, the Russian Mediterranean fleet was disbanded, and now it seems to have been revived on a smaller scale. It is planned that 10 Russian warships will monitor the Mediterranean.

Vessels to send a clear signal

In professional circles, these plans were met with some skepticism. “I think this policy is about sending a clear signal,” Klein said, adding that the Russian Navy’s military importance is “not very big.”

Russian journalist and analyst Alexander Golz said he has a similar view of the situation. “The task of the Mediterranean fleet will be to show its presence,” he told DW.

He pointed out that the Russian Navy lacks modern warships. “Russia only has one aircraft carrier, the ‘Admiral Kuznetsov’ stationed with the Northern Fleet,” added Golz.

Neither Klein nor Golz said they thought Russian warships would participate in the Syria conflict. NATO also needn’t worry, the experts said. Golz pointed out that Cyprus is not a NATO member, though two British military bases are stationed on the island, one of them in near Limassol.

The big questions is will the UK also increase military presence in the Mediterranean, more specifically the Strait of Gibraltar, under the guise of a jet-ski incident?

Aside from the Gib rubber bullet shooting incident, the launching of a cuddly commissioned and perfectly timed light hearted documentary ‘Britain in the Sun‘ which has raised awareness back home to UK citizens of the existence of Gibraltar, has been perhaps designed to stoke up some outrage and support the idea of spending money on UK naval presence in the Strait, is all a little bit too perfectly timed?  Or are we just being cynical?

Already the Daily Mail have a headline ‘Where’s Nelson when you need him?’, so patriotically appealing :-


Here on The Rock, however, the locals want rather more than desk-thumping in Whitehall. ‘We need to see a greater British presence in these waters to establish that these waters are undoubtedly British,’ Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo tells me. Even though the entire political class of Gibraltar is embroiled in a heated by-election campaign, there is a solid cross-party unity on this.

Fabian Picardo in Casemates 29th June 2013, exclusive photo property of Gibraltar Tourism.

Fabian Picardo in Casemates 29th June 2013, exclusive photo property of Gibraltar Tourism.

But with the poor Royal Navy enduring cuts while the Ministry of Defence flogs off old warhorses like HMS Ark Royal, there is little chance of anything substantial turning up any time soon.

And then there’s the recent meetings in London where Fabian Picardo has so obligingly agreed to international financial respectability with David Cameron.

So will we see increased military presence back here on the Rock in the months to come?

Only David Cameron can answer this one.

written by John Middleton –

Coral Island Superyacht Gibraltar

Coral Island Superyacht Gibraltar

coral island

One of the regular visiting Superyachts to Gibraltar waters was in distress Thursday 13th June 2013 just off the coast of Sussex, UK, and called for assistance from the coastguard.

coral island off Eastbourne

The £75 million yacht, Coral Island, believed to be owned by Sheikh Abdul Mohsen Abdulmalik Al-Sheikh, rumoured previous owner of Pelorus, the superyacht currently belonging to billioinaire Roman Abramovich, called for assistance due to a crew member having suffered unexplained facial injuries in stormy waters.

Coxswain Mark Sawyer and his volunteer crew launched shortly on Thursday with the intention of taking the battered and bruised man to the town’s hospital.

But with choppy seas and gale force winds making a seaborne rescue near impossible, the coastguard helicopter was called for.

Bob Jeffery, from the Eastbourne station, said: “It was going to be treacherous trying to safely get the man to hospital in those conditions so he was winched up by the helicopter.

“It was some vessel. The photograph of our lifeboat alongside the yacht really puts it into perspective. It dwarfed our little lifeboat.”

Mr Jeffery added that the yacht anchored half a mile from Eastbourne Pier on Thursday night as they were waiting for the crew member to be treated.

They set off early on Friday to Gibraltar, their original destination.

Coral Island, which is registered in Bermuda, has something of a colourful history.


young Picasso

She was built in 1994 and is owned by one of Saudi Arabia’s richest men, billionaire Sheikh Abdul Mohsen Abdulmalik Al-Sheikh.

The luxury hotel owner’s love of yachts is only matched by his passion for breeding Arabian horses.

He is rumoured to have sold his previous vessel to Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich.

In 1999, the Coral Island was at the centre of a huge international criminal investigation.

While docked in Antibes in southern France, the Sheikh’s prized Picasso painting, his 1938 Buste de Femme, went missing.

An investigation, spanning numerous countries was launched and a £500,000 reward was offered. However the painting was never recovered.

The vessel, which costs a cool £6 million a year to run, is home to 25 permanent staff members.

Along with a Jacuzzi, four VIP suites, three speedboats and scuba diving gear, the yacht features one of the most valuable floating galleries in the world.

The art-loving Sheik has packed the yacht with a reported £151 million of paintings including works from French artist Matisse and others from Picasso.

written by John Middleton –

World Trade Centre Gibraltar

World Trade Centre Gibraltar

For all the latest developments and news on the new WTC Gibraltar

 A new WTC is to be built here in Gibraltar, and not so far away now.  Gibraltar has made leaps and bounds in the last 12 months, with EU recognition now on the world stage of finance and with major new office development.
World Trade Centre

Companies can come and register in Gibraltar and trade throughout the European Union.  What Gibraltar has lacked, up until now, is physical infrastructure, that physical infrastructure is now becoming a reality and Gibraltar is soon to be the new home of the new World Trade Centre.

Now that’s impressive!

John Middleton –