US Navy nuclear submarine to call at Gibraltar

USS Florida heading for the Rock, Verdemar warns

Verdemar-Ecologists in Action has warned of the arrival this Tuesday in Gibraltar of the US Navy submarine 'USS Florida', which was already in the Rock in December 2019 with a stay of six days without the reason for its stop being officially known.

The environmentalists have criticised in statements to Europa Press that the reasons for the stop of this submarine are currently unknown, although "it is not the first time that broken submarines have docked at the Gibraltar military base".

Likewise, he has denounced the fact that the military port of Gibraltar "is becoming a port 'X', where submarines are brought to be repaired" and warned that "this type of work on nuclear submarines in Gibraltar puts the population of the Campo de Gibraltar and the Strait of Gibraltar at risk and endangers them".

For this reason, Verdemar has called for "Gibraltar to be freed once and for all from nuclear-powered devices and other vessels that are veritable floating bombs" and argues that "Spain must make this servitude clear in the treaty negotiations on Gibraltar's relationship in Europe".

01 November 2022

GIBRALTAR - The U.S. Navy Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine USS Rhode Island (SSBN 740) arrived in Gibraltar for a scheduled port visit, Nov. 1, 2022.

This brief stop in the U.S. Naval Forces Europe area of operations demonstrates the flexibility and adaptability submarines bring to U.S. and allied forces in the region. The last time a U.S. Navy SSBN conducted a port visit to Gibraltar was USS Alaska (SSBN 732) in June 2021.

“Rhode Island’s port visit to Gibraltar reinforces our ironclad commitment to our allies and partners in the region. The U.S. and U.K. share a strong history of cooperation, through exercises, operations, and cooperation activities such as this, that enhance our combined capabilities and partnership,” said Capt. John Craddock, commander, Task Force 69. “The complexity, lethality, and tactical expertise of Rhode Island epitomizes the effectiveness and strength of the submarine force.”

Prior to her port visit to Gibraltar, Rhode Island visited His Majesty’s Naval Base (HMND) Clyde, Scotland (Faslane) for a scheduled port visit in July 2022.

Rhode Island, homeported in Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga., is an Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine. These submarines are flexible and survivable, with the ability to patrol continuously as a highly-effective element of the U.S. nuclear deterrence force. Assigned to Submarine Group 10, Rhode Island is one of six ballistic-missile submarines homeported at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia.

Second US Ballistic Missile Submarine Appears in Port of Gibraltar

Second US Ballistic Missile Submarine Appears in Port of Gibraltar

Why is Gibraltar Important? Christ's Rock of Defence.


Nuclear submarines surface to send a message. This could be directed to an adversary like Russia or China, or sometimes it could be to send a more subtle message to an ally nearby. This is all the more so with the fleet of SSBNs, submarines capable of carrying nuclear warheads and of firing these weapons from unknown locations under the sea. It is extremely rare for such submarines to reveal their position in this way.

Secrecy is always the key to nuclear operations. It is precisely the threat posed by an invisible vessel at an unknown location that lies at the very heart of the nuclear deterrent. The very principle of the deterrent therefore rests on not knowing where the attack might come from. It is no surprise that movements of such nuclear submarines is a closely guarded secret which is only shared at a certain military level in NATO and on a need to know basis. The United States, the United Kingdom and France are the three NATO countries with nuclear deterrents and all of them have a seat on the United Nations Security Council for that reason.