The Royal Navy sent four warships into the English Channel to warn French trawlers to stay away from British fish once the Brexit Agreement came into force.
Hours before the agreement came into force on New Years Day, cannon and machine gun boats left Portsmouth to stop all illegal fishing in British fishing grounds.
The £ 100 million ship HMS Trent led the mission, flanked by HMS Tamar, HMS Tyne and HMS Mersey, all of whom were deployed to protect the new fishing rights set out in the trade agreement.
Four naval vessels, including the HMS Tamar (which is leaving Portsmouth on New Year's Eve), have been sent to the English Channel to stop illegal fishing on British fishing grounds a few hours before the new Brexit trade agreement comes into force
Boats from France and the EU can still fish in UK waters, but over the next five and a half years a quarter of their quota will be given to the UK. Pictured: HMS Tamar leaves Portsmouth on New Years Eve
People stood by the harbor in Portsmouth to wave to the naval ship HMS Tamar as it set out for the canal on New Years Day
The boats armed with cannons and machine guns left Portsmouth on New Year's Eve (picture) to "carry out routine activities," says a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense
HMS Severn was also used on the channel for drills, reports The Sun.
Under the Brexit trade deal, boats from France and the rest of the EU can still fish in UK waters, but a quarter of their quota will be turned over to the UK over the next five and a half years.
Talk of naval vessels being dispatched to deal with conflicts in fishing grounds when a trade deal was not reached with the EU was circulated ahead of New Year's Day and despite reaching an agreement, the boats left Portsmouth in late 2020.
Earlier this month, there were fears that the use of ships could bring back memories of the Cod Wars of the 1970s – at times the Royal Navy halted Icelandic boats disrupting British trawlers.
Before a trade deal was reached on Christmas Eve, there was talk of using naval boats to deal with potential collisions over fishing grounds. Pictured: HMS Tamar leaves Portsmouth on New Years Eve
Despite an agreement, the boats left Portsmouth in late 2020, as Michael Gove warned in October
The £ 100 million ship HMS Trent led the mission, flanked by HMS Tamar, HMS Tyne and HMS Mersey (Pictured: leaving Portsmouth on New Years Eve)
Catch quotas have been a major stumbling block in Britain's negotiations with the European Union. Pictured: HMS Mersey leaves Portsmouth on New Years Eve
Former naval admiral chief Lord West of Spithead said the decision to send boats into the canal was "an act of deterrence" and should be seen as a signal that Britain is taking responsibility for its waters.
The Sun reported that a defense source said, “It was planned to have two offshore patrol vessels at sea and two in port and turn them.
HMS TAMAR STATS
Displacement: 2,000 tons
Length: 90.5 m (296 ft 11 in)
Width: 13 m
Draft: 3.8 m
Speed: 44 km / h
Range: 5,500 nmi (10,200 km)
Endurance: 35 days
1 × 30 mm DS30B gun
2 × general purpose machine guns
2 × miniguns
"But for the first day of Brexit, the commanders wanted all four ships at sea as a sign of determination."
A spokesman for the military for the defense confirmed that the four boats had left Portsmouth on New Year's Eve Perform routine activity ”.
Mr Gove warned in October that the Navy would patrol British waters in the days following the transition period. The cabinet minister said they would "make sure that no one abuses their rights when it comes to access to our fishing waters".
Catch quotas had been a major stumbling block in Britain's negotiations with the European Union. French President Emmanuel Macron refused to move, insisting he was unwilling to "give up my share of the cake".
The two sides disagreed bitterly on how much access EU fleets should still have to UK waters.
Earlier this month, the EU suggested that it should have the same access as it does now for at least another year – even if no trade deal was reached – an idea that was rejected by UK ministers.
The Department of Defense has spent months creating contingency plans for a number of outcomes at the end of the transition period on December 31 out of fear A no-deal result could have led to clashes between competing boats.
It is believed that the plans would use two Batch 1 vessels and two Batch 2 vessels nearly 300 feet long and weighing 2,000 tons.
A government source said the boats would be available to assist border forces and intervene if boats refused to leave in British waters. They were expected to also inspect ships if necessary.
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