US Navy submarine, USS Albany, arrives in Gibraltar
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The USS Albany made a scheduled port visit in Gibraltar on December 30, 2021. Ecological campaigners criticised the visit as putting the Rock at a ”nuclear risk” over the New Year period and demanded the submarine to “leave”.
Spanish non-governmental organisation Verdemar Ecologistas en Acción said the presence of nuclear submarines at the rock puts thousands of people – along with the environment – at risk.
It said: “Campo de Gibraltar does not want to participate in any submarine war.
“We continue to insist that these submarines are floating bombs and put our families and our environment at risk.”
The organisation was equally critical in December following reports of a UK Astute-class vessel docking in Gibraltar.
It insisted that it was “not prepared for the management of nuclear accidents”, should they occur.
The USS Albany is a Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine.
It was commissioned in 1990 and is one of 62 submarines of the LA-class.
This contains more nuclear submarines than any other class in the world.
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Its captain, John Craddock, said in a statement: “USS Albany’s operations in the European theatre highlight the importance of undersea warfare and our commitment to allies and partners in the region.”
He added: “Albany’s tactical prowess embodies the professionalism of the submarine force.”
But Verdemar was not convinced by the argument of allyship.
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Offering no exceptions, it said: ”We do not accept submarine operations in the Mediterranean.”
Verdemar accused the US navy of putting “the nuclear star on our Christmas trees.”
The group added: “We have entered 2022 with nuclear risk.”
It also doubled down on its insistence that the submarine “leave and stop putting at nuclear risk” the Cadiz coast of the Strait of Gibraltar.
The USS Albany made a further stop in December off the coast of Limassol, Cyprus and engaged in coordinated operations with NATO.
Additional reporting Maria Ortega.
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