HMS Severn and HMS Tamar have been deployed by the UK Authorities to “monitor the state of affairs” on the Channel Island amid a protest by French fishing vessels on the port of St Helier over the shortage of entry.
French maritime minister Annick Girardin warned on Tuesday that the nation is able to take “retaliatory measures”, accusing Jersey of dragging its ft over issuing new licences to French boats.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke to Jersey Chief Minister Senator John Le Fondre and Exterior Affairs Minister Ian Gorst on Wednesday, and “underlined his unwavering assist” for the island.
Dozens of French boats arrived on the harbour on Thursday morning, with some crews setting off flares through the up to now peaceable protest, in line with the Jersey Night Submit.
Paris has warned it may reduce off energy to the island, which receives 95% of its electrical energy from France via three undersea cables, in retaliation for the fallout.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman stated: “HMS Severn and HMS Tamar are deploying to Jersey to conduct maritime safety patrols.
“It is a strictly precautionary measure and has been agreed with the Jersey Authorities.”
A Downing Road spokesman added: “The Prime Minister and Chief Minister harassed the pressing want for a de-escalation in tensions and for dialogue between Jersey and France on fishing entry.
“The Prime Minister underlined his unwavering assist for Jersey.
“He stated that any blockade can be utterly unjustified.
“As a precautionary measure the UK might be sending two offshore patrol vessels to observe the state of affairs.
“They agreed the UK and Jersey Governments would proceed to work intently on this subject.”
Talking to BBC Newsnight on Wednesday, Mr Gorst stated: “We take these threats from each Paris and the French fishermen very significantly.
“They’re disproportionate to the problems which can be being skilled within the post-Brexit commerce licensing issuing.”
The row started after the island applied new necessities beneath the phrases of the UK-EU commerce deal for boats to submit proof of their previous fishing actions to be able to obtain a licence to hold on working in Jersey waters.
On Wednesday, Mr Gorst held talks with Marc Lefevre, the president of the La Manche area of northern France, on the “troublesome set of points regarding fishing licences”.
“There are a selection of vital issues which we’ll proceed to work via,” he stated.
Ms Girardin informed the French parliament that it gave Paris the “means” to behave towards the island if the difficulty couldn’t be resolved.
“Regardless that I’m sorry that it has come to this, we’ll achieve this if we have now to,” she stated.
Mr Gorst, nonetheless, stated the island just isn’t in search of to bar boats which have traditionally fished in Jersey waters and insisted the dispute may be resolved amicably.
He stated that of the 41 boats which sought licences beneath the brand new guidelines final Friday, all however 17 had offered the proof required.
“The commerce deal is evident however I believe there was some confusion about the way it must be applied, as a result of we completely respect the historic rights of French fishermen to fish in Jersey waters as they’ve been doing for hundreds of years,” he stated.
“I do assume an answer may be discovered.
“I’m optimistic that we will present further time to permit this proof to be offered.”