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Port of Gibraltar

Port Of Gibraltar – The Entry To The Mediterranean

The Port of Gibraltar, located in the city Gibraltar on the Southern tip of Europe, is a busy little port with over 300 vessels passing through daily, primarily cruise ships and yachts. We share a few interesting facts here about this tourist-destination.

Port of Gibraltar


Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory steeped in history. The Phoenicians first settled there in 711AD, and after many battles and sieges, the territory finally settled in the hands of the British in 1704 when the Anglo-Dutch forces captured Gibraltar from Spain during the War of the Spanish Succession, and was later ceded to Great Britain in perpetuity under the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713.

In 1969, Spain claimed Gibraltar back at the United Nations, however 99,9% of Gibraltarians voted to remain British, and Spain then closed the frontier to vehicular traffic and cut telecommunications. By 1969 they closed the frontier in its entirety.

Following the Brussels Agreement in December of 1984, the frontier was fully opened in February of 1985.

Gibraltar covers and area of 6.8square kilometers, with a circumference of only approximately 16km. It’s a tiny place, packed with a wealth of history, cultural significance, and tourist value.

Morocco, on the African continent, lies 24km across the strait. Vessels from the Port of Tangier in Morocco are consistently seen docking in Gibraltar.

The Rock of Gibraltar, a tourist attraction in itself,  is mainly Jurassic Limestone, and is roughly 200 million years old, according to scientific research.

The Gibraltar Trinity Lighthouse, found at Europa Point, dates back to 1841 and stands 49 meter’s above sea level with a range of approximately 37 kilometers. It is now fully automated and the only lighthouse operated by Trinity outside of the UK.

The Strait of Gibraltar is the gateway to the Mediterranean.  According to scientists, the last time the strait opened up was around five million years ago. At that time, the Mediterranean had been land-locked for an extended period and had evaporated. A fissure then developed  in what is today known as the Strait of Gibraltar, and the Atlantic then filled the Mediterranean basin in about one hundred years, with a huge ten thousand foot waterfall at the entrance to the strait. That would have been a spectacular sight to see!

port of Gibraltar light house


The Port of Gibraltar is a popular cruise ship calling port. It has a one metre tidal range which means that cruise ships can berth alongside the Cruise Terminal at any time of day or night within an hour of leaving the main shipping lanes of the Strait of Gibraltar, according to the Port Authority website.

Vessels calling for bunkers or water can be accommodated on both sides of the Western Arm of the port. The outer side is 490 metres long with a maximum draught of 9.6 metres and can accommodate vessels of any length. The inner side is 450 metres long with a maximum draught of 8.6 metres and can accommodate vessels up to a maximum length of 300 metres.

Vessels calling for lay-up or repairs can also berth at the Detached Mole, which is 605 metres long with a maximum draught of 9.1 metres.

There are discharging facilities at the North Mole for loading and discharging containers and small amounts of seaborne general cargo. The container berth is used on a regular basis.

port of Gibraltar cruise terminal
The Port of Gibraltar Crusie Terminal

Out Of Interest

As a final and interesting fact : on the 20th  March 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono married on the Rock.

We also share some links below with further interesting facts on the Port of Gibraltar



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