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Photojournalism as we all know is not the quick snap picture taking profession some people think it is.

This week was proof of this in Gibraltar. The dramatic scenes on Sunday during the explosion at the electrical power plant brought out all the stops for our photojournalistic team.

The next assignment, our exclusive tobacco activity story, also highlighted the dangers and risks in taking to investigative/documentary photography. Even after the abuse, threats, and insults our team once again brings to you an insight into some of Gibraltar’s main events of the week. Editor


The Government of Gibraltar has recently implemented new blue zones under the Tobacco Act which restrict tobacco activities across key areas in Gibraltar. The implementation of these zones means that the quantities of tobacco being carried are lowered in some area. It was also meant to stop activities by Spanish and other foreign nationals such as the concealment of cigarettes taking place in these areas. Amongst one of the areas is the bus stop opposite the old air terminal. Core Photography photojournalists conducted their own research, and the images tell the whole story. These were taken on Wednesday 23rd April at approximately 11am.

Female lifts her shirt to place packets of cigarettes behind her back

Another female lifts the side of her blouse to place tobacco under it.

The same female lifts the front of her blouse whilst holding the packet ready to conceal it.

Taking the route

by sea

The battle against tobacco related activity, has taken a new twist as small leisure boats have taken to smuggling from the area of Marina Bay/Western Arms in what has been described as a "cat and mouse game" by Law enforcement officers from all services. The vessels, small pleasure boats, are known to be frequently entering Gibraltar without reporting their entry, loading with what is deemed as a legitimate quantity of tobacco, and then sailing to a near-by pier on the Spanish side of Western Beach where the tobacco is unloaded. The pier itself is in disputed waters and is partially constructed by Spain within what is deemed officially as British Gibraltar Territorial Waters. Core Photography photojournalist captured moments in which three vessels entered and left Gibraltar waters and unloaded onto the said piers in the mid day. The vessels conducted their activities throughout a two hour period unchallenged. They were later seen entering Marina Bay, loading bags onto the vessels and challenged by the Police and Customs who later released them. Core Photography was informed that the occupants of the vessels were carrying the legal limits of tobacco allowed. This being less than 1,999 cigarettes per person on each vessel. Personnel at the marinas informed No Comment that they had made the authorities aware of the frequent use of the marina, and although officials had continously checked the area and conducted checks it continued on a daily basis.

Male person waits by what is considered the “Spanish side” of the rocky groin which was constructed within BGTW as vessels approach having come from the area of Marina Bay, Gibraltar. The vessels unload and then return to Gibraltar.

Gibraltar Customs officers are patrolling the area of Western Beach on a continous basis during this time.

The same pleasure boat is seen leaving the marina in Gibraltar within minutes of arrival.

After a two hour break the vessel with its two occupants returns to the marina in Gibraltar from the area known as Puerto Chico located inside La Linea, Spain.

It heads to berth by the area immediately off the marina, next to Bayside Sports complex.

A second vessel with three occupants, again from Spanish waters follows it immediately after, berthing next to the first vessel.

The occupants of the first vessel who left the marina via the rear exit of the same return to the marina with bags in hand and head towards their vessel where they load the bags and are seen speaking to occupants of the other vessel and other persons who have arrived entering from the rear of the marina.

Occupant from first vessel, the same that had earlier in the morning unloaded at the Spanish pier received more bags from a male person who arrives via the rear of the marina.

The occupant of the first vessel then heads with the bags to the area where the two vessels are berthed. The male person who arrived with the bags leaves via the rear exit of the marina, where a car park is located exiting onto Bayside Road.

WIthin minutes the second vessel leaves the berth as an RGP marine base vessels enters the marina.

The vessel is intercepted and moments later is allowed to proceed.

In the meantime the occupants of the first vessel are seen onboard another vessel extracting water from it as the police marine section passes next to them. The vessel they are onboard is not the original they had arrived in.

Customs officers arrive at the scene and after being informed by the Police Marine section and members of the public of the activity they head towards the vessel still berthed at the end of the marina.

Customs officers conduct a search, and later release the vessel and occupants after they are found to be within the legal limits of tobacco which can be carried in Gibraltar. The occupants of the first vessel are now back on the original vessel they had arrived on.


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During the investigation into tobacco activities at the local marina areas vessels originating from Spanish waters were observed waiting by the marine petrol stations, where the former reporting berth was once located, just 75m from the main Customs outpost. It no longer exists. The area is frequented by enforcement agency vessels, frequently. In these images the occupant from the vessel is informed by Customs officials that he is to leave the area. Instead he stays at berth, and is later seen speaking to a RGP crew who themselves leave the area leaving the vessel there. The same vessel is then spoken to again by Customs officers who return to the same area.

Male person appears at the end of the berth as described by members of the public and is seemingly fishing. Members of the public who frequnetly use the area described how a male person acts as if he was fishing when police arrive in the area, but is later seen loading, or assisting in the loading of bags onto vessels that arrive in the same area.

Police speak to occupant of the vessel by marine petrol station for over 30mins before departing.

Customs officers return to the area and speak again to the occupant of the vessel.


In Full View

Thursday 1030am, and as you entered Ocean Village via Watergardens pontoon a Spanish pleasure boat waits by the marine petrol pump berths. Immediately two men with bags approach and pass the contents of the bags to the vessel, whilst a second vessel arrives. As the first vessel leaves, and the two men on land walk away, three more men arrive, all Spanish speaking with bags in hand and pass the contents of their bags to the second vessel which has not stopped or reported its presence to anyone during that time. The vessel receives the contents of the racksacks and plastic bags, several black plastic bags, and leaves the area. The men on land in the meantime begin to insult the photographer on land taking pictures, and start calling out threats and abusive comments towards him. All in full view of the general public passing by and sitting by the bars on the same pontoon.

The Fire! Just before 1400hrs on Sunday 20th April 2014, Gibraltar went into total black out after "engine number one" exploded within the Gibraltar Electricty power plant. The engine, which dates back to the 1970s is described to have led to a decision to cut off all power whilst emergency services attended. Fire tenders from both the City Fire Brigade and Defence Fire Services were in attendance, alongside the Royal Gibraltar Police and Defence Police as a major incident was called.

Minister Licudi and Police Superindent Mifsud arrive at location.

Off duty police officers in plain clothes assist

Chief Inspector arrives at scene having been recalled and immediately proceeds to evacuate immediate road area and increase safety cordons. The first senior ranked officer at the scene arrived within less than ten minutes of the explosion

Woman with her two sons waits for news on her husband who worked within the power plant.

Defence Fire Services called in to assist in tackling the fire.

Gibraltar Defence Police supported the Royal Gibraltar Police in maintaining area secure.

Numerous off-duty fire fighters arrived in plain clothes from nearby homes, and were seen getting equipped at location under a heavy torrential rain.

Dancers at Convent Young dancers from Danza Academy this week received certificates from Lady Dulton, the Governor’s wife, at the Convent Ballroom.

Produced by Core Photography

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t: +350 54017663 t: +350 54030211

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No comment issue 3  
No comment issue 3  

No Comment Gibraltar Issue 3 - Gibraltar's digital weekly photo story magazine. Featuring exclusive reportage on new trends in tobacco rela...