The British Navy will send two patrol boats to Jersey – an affiliate of the British Crown on the English Channel – as a “precaution” against France’s threats to cut off electricity or close the main port of the island, it said Wednesday evening.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office reported that he had spoken Wednesday evening with Jersey Prime Minister John Law Founder about a possible blockade of St Helier – the main city on the island.
The Prime Minister and the Prime Minister stressed the urgent need to de-escalate tensions and dialogue between Jersey and France on access to fishing. The Prime Minister emphasized his steadfast support for the island of Jersey. He said that any blockade would be completely unjustified. As a precaution, Johnson’s office reported that the UK will send two patrol boats to monitor the situation.
France had previously threatened to cut off the electricity supply to Jersey, and French fishermen would have closed the island’s main port, Saint Helier, to cut off supplies. French officials also announced that France would close its offices in the Channel Islands and stop importing products from Jersey.
Threatened to cut off the electricity supply to Jersey – 95% of it. French Maritime Economy Minister Annick Girardin said submarine cables are being supplied from France.
A dispute arose over the new licensing system for French fishing boats. The system – introduced by the Jersey government as part of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement – requires French boats to demonstrate a history of fishing in Jersey waters. However, the French authorities stated that the “new technical measures” for fishing off the Channel Islands had not been transferred to the European Union, rendering them “invalid”.
About 100 French fishing boats will sail towards Jersey on Thursday in protest against the new rules, AFP, citing the head of the Normandy fishermen’s union, Dimitri Rogoff, said. He added that they will not try to close the Port of Saint-Helier and will return to France in the afternoon.
From London: Bartłomiej Niedziński (PAP)
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