Gibraltar, just 2.6 square miles of British territory at the end of Spain’s Iberian Peninsula, has once again demonstrated the strategic importance of British Overseas Territories to Defence, offering a perfect location to help in the Hurricane Irma relief efforts.
HMS Ocean has been refueled and restocked there before it is re-tasked to the British Overseas Territories affected around the Caribbean.
HMS Ocean arrives in Gibraltar ahead of relief mission to Caribbean.
Gibraltar has been British since 1714, and during that time has proved itself as an asset to the U.K repeatedly.
During World War Two the British territory was used as an air and naval base for the Allied invasion of North Africa, just eight miles away.
Later, the straight between Gibraltar and Ceuta was also monitored and controlled for Soviet submarines.
Today, the straight is used to monitor global trade traffic passing through to Southern Europe and the Mediterranean.
The Royal Navy maintain a squadron in Gibraltar, alongside the ability to host larger royal navy ships.
There is also RAF Gibraltar, which doubles as the international airport.
There is no permanent presence of planes of helicopters, but when it is needed, it is ready.
Meanwhile, the Army have the Gibraltar regiment and there are all the facilities of a British military headquarters.
It is also a vital stopover from British forces on aid mission, troops on their way to the Middle-East and tackling piracy in the Indian Ocean.