Brexit Fishing Row: France sends two naval patrol boats to Jersey

A French fishing boat, one in every of many, takes half in an illustration in entrance of the port of Saint Helier off the British island of Jersey – Sameer Al-Doumy / AFP

Boris Johnson mentioned two Royal Navy ships will stay parked off Jersey till the French blockade was resolved, as Brussels rallied behind France in a escalation in post-Brexit fishing rights.

The PM held a second name with the Chief Minister of Jersey on Thursday morning during which he reaffirmed the UK’s ‘unequivocal help’ for the Channel Island and confirmed that the ships would stay in place as a precaution .

It comes as France responded to the British intervention by dispatching two of its personal naval patrol boats to observe the flotilla of 60 French fishing boats, that are at the moment tenting round Saint-Hélier, Jersey’s predominant port.

One of many French boats deployed within the space belongs to the gendarmerie of the navy police, the opposite is a coastal patrol vessel operated by the maritime ministry.

The French authorities confirmed that the ships have been despatched to “assure the protection” of individuals at sea and to accompany the boats whereas they remained stationed across the port.

In a press release, Downing Road mentioned Mr Johnson had obtained an replace from Sen. John Le Fondre on the state of affairs on the bottom, with the couple agreeing to remain in contact as “the state of affairs unfolds”.

French fishermen gather in a net on their boat near the port of Saint-Hélier - Sameer Al-Doumy / AFPFrench fishermen gather in a net on their boat near the port of Saint-Hélier - Sameer Al-Doumy / AFP

French fishermen collect in a web on their boat close to the port of Saint-Hélier – Sameer Al-Doumy / AFP

Nevertheless, the presence of HMS Tamar and HMS Severn, two River-class offshore patrol vessels, didn’t deter the a number of dozen French boats, which arrived early Thursday morning to start their blockade.

As an indication of rising political tensions, French European Affairs Minister Clément Beaune additionally warned his authorities “wouldn’t be intimidated” by the UK’s present of power.

“Our want is to not have tensions, however to have a speedy and full software of the settlement,” he instructed AFP. “That is the case for Jersey and that is the case for the licenses we’re ready for in Hauts-de-France (area).”

Brussels additionally floundered within the row, with a European Fee spokesperson claiming he had instructed the British authorities that Jersey’s actions appeared to go towards the Brexit trade deal signed by UK and EU final yr.

Fishermen collaborating within the protest instructed the Telegraph that they meant to remain put till that they had talks with authorities in Jersey. A delegation from the French flotilla has now entered Saint-Hélier for talks.

Their actions have been known as ‘pirates’ by Lord West, the previous First Lord of the Sea, who instructed the Telegraph the incident confirmed the UK wanted extra ships to observe its waters after Brexit .

The scene off Jersey on Thursday morning was in comparison with an ‘invasion’ by a fisherman from Jersey, who instructed reporters: ‘There have been most likely round 60 boats. possibly some bangers and stuff from the French.

Jersey is accused of introducing unilateral restrictions on the place and when French boats can fish and for a way lengthy, in addition to on the equipment they will use.

Forty-one boats out of 344 candidates have been granted licenses – topic to proof of historic fishing exercise in Jersey waters.

France known as the phrases “unacceptable”, whereas the European Fee mentioned any restrictions launched needed to be notified upfront and utilized to all vessels in Jersey territorial waters and never simply vessels in Jersey. the EU.

Final week’s choice additionally prompted French Maritime Affairs Minister Annick Girardin to threaten “retaliatory measures”, together with cut off the electricity supply to Jersey from France, which provides 95 p.c of its vitality.

On Thursday, Stéphanie Yon-Courtin, a French MEP, mentioned France was all the time able to act within the face of her menace of cut the power supply to Jersey regardless of the argument.

France’s provocation was known as “scandalous” and “utterly disproportionate” on Wednesday by UK authorities officers, with the Telegraph additionally revealing that ministers are actually contemplating reviewing vitality ties with France.

Nevertheless, a spokesperson for the European Fee mentioned: “Beneath the EU-UKTCA, all proposed administration circumstances have to be notified upfront to the opposite get together, which provides them adequate time. to evaluate and react to the proposed measures.

“Moreover, any addition of recent particular circumstances to those fishing authorizations which prohibit EU fishing actions in UK waters have to be in keeping with the aims and rules set out within the ACT, that are based mostly on a transparent scientific rationale. Such circumstances should even be non-discriminatory between British and European vessels.

“The Fee has made it clear to the UK that EU-UKTCA provisions haven’t been complied with. Till UK authorities present additional justifications for the brand new circumstances, these new circumstances shouldn’t be met. apply. The Fee stays in shut contact with France and the UK on the matter. “

Mr Gorst instructed the BBC that the UK’s choice to name in Navy ships was justified, including that it was vital for the federal government to face up “firmly” to “disproportionate threats” from Paris.

“A Parisian minister threatened on technical issues of fishing licenses to chop off the electrical energy of Jersey. We should take these threats severely and react appropriately”, he added.

“And the fishing boats threatened to blockade the principle port of the island.

“Once more we have now to take this severely and we’re extraordinarily grateful to the Prime Minister for his full help and as he mentioned final night time these property in Jersey waters are a precautionary measure to observe what is going on in our waters and, as I mentioned, to this point the protest has been peaceable, as one would anticipate. “

In the meantime, Lord West urged France to “take a deep breath”, accusing their habits of being extra “nineteenth century than twenty first century”.

“I feel it is aggressive, it is in our waters, I imply, it has been made clear due to what is going on on in our waters. And the truth that there are two Royal Navy offshore patrol vessels, each of whom, their job is to take care of our territorial seas and our unique financial zone, makes good sense contemplating that the ships French fishermen mentioned they have been. will block a port.

“It is type of pirate habits and so it is extraordinary.”

Learn extra: The French electricity threat leaves Britain facing the nuclear option

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