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Brexit matters

Beemax

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In lots of ways possibly yes. But they've never been in the EU, presumably because they'd have to give up their off-shore tax avoidance status, and allow freedom of movement - you and I have never been allowed to live there (unless you're some sort of multi-millionaire oligarch who can buy your way in) despite many thinking of it as part of Britain.
Jersey/Guernsey to France and Gibraltar to Spain. That'll upset the Daily Telegraph readers.
 
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yorksrob

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Brexit appears to have caused yet another problem, a confrontation over the Channel Islands/îles Normandes. The separate Bailiwicks of Guernsey and Jersey were originally part of the Duchy of Normandy and have essentially (apart from brief occupations by France and Germany at different periods) been under English (and later British) control ever since 1066, but never part of England or subsequently the UK, and were thus never part of the EU.

However, their current position is problematic and anomalous, and given their geographic situation, would they not be better off as French départements?

Presumably not, for the same reason's that they're not better off as English counties ?
 

REVUpminster

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I see the BBC reporting the UK sending gunboats and the French patrol boats. This is a Jersey/French problem as we are only responsible for their defence as we were for the Falklands. It does amuse that paperwork is upsetting the French.
 

jon0844

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I am sure our boats will head home after polling stations close tonight!
 
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It looks like the French navy went home first. RN still present.

The French Navy vessel "Athos" is a very small inshore patrol craft, half the size of the UK patrol vessels.
It remained well outside of Jersey's territorial waters, to the east and south east, well away from events.

The other French "naval " craft some news media have mentioned, Themis, is in fact a French maritime agency craft and not a navy boat or a warship.
It left Cherbourg this morning and only passed through to the east of the area on its way around the French coast and continued on towards the western tip of Brittany.
It appears to have been on a routine coastal patrol and had nothing to do with these events.
 

jon0844

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On Twitter people were saying the French were about to cut the electricity supply to the island, while others seemed to think it was going to lead to war. I'm sure someone started out by trolling, before realising that some people would take it seriously.
 

Ediswan

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On Twitter people were saying the French were about to cut the electricity supply to the island, while others seemed to think it was going to lead to war. I'm sure someone started out by trolling, before realising that some people would take it seriously.
I looked that one up. Jersey gets its electricity from France for its green credentials. They do still have a thermal power station, retained for backup, with a mixture of steam turbine, gas turbine, and diesel. I was not able to determine if using that backup supply would require load shedding.
 

24Grange

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- You don't have to be a multimillionaire to live there. A connection will do. My grandfather was born there for example.
 

najaB

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Meanwhile, this tempest in a teacup about French fishing rights in non-UK waters (not directly Brexit-related because the Channel Islands weren't part of the EU) has provided a convenient distraction from the fact that the UK government managed to successfully not negotiate access for British trawlers to Norwegian waters, which was directly related to Brexit

 

REVUpminster

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I see the BBC reporting the UK sending gunboats and the French patrol boats. This is a Jersey/French problem as we are only responsible for their defence as we were for the Falklands. It does amuse that paperwork is upsetting the French.
BBC south west reporting the ships were not gunboats but lightly armed patrol boats.
 

24Grange

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Think ours have a 40mm "bofors" gun, if fitted. I think they used to call it " sabre rattling" in Victoria's day :)
 

edwin_m

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The French Navy vessel "Athos" is a very small inshore patrol craft, half the size of the UK patrol vessels.
It remained well outside of Jersey's territorial waters, to the east and south east, well away from events.

The other French "naval " craft some news media have mentioned, Themis, is in fact a French maritime agency craft and not a navy boat or a warship.
It left Cherbourg this morning and only passed through to the east of the area on its way around the French coast and continued on towards the western tip of Brittany.
It appears to have been on a routine coastal patrol and had nothing to do with these events.
Yah boo, my gunboat's bigger than your gunboat.
Think ours have a 40mm "bofors" gun, if fitted.
Made in Sweden?
 

24Grange

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Yes indeed... :) But but but.... my gunboats bigger than your gunboat, says the rear admiral sitting in his bathtub.

Although saying that in the 1970's Cod Wars, Iceland had smaller " gunboats" whilst we had full sized frigates and destroyers. They led the Royal Navy a merry dance ( and damaged a few ships - by ramming) as they were smaller and more maneuverable than the destroyers.
 

Scotrail314209

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Not gonna lie, seeing it got me concerned that something big was going to kick off.

Hopefully the UK see sense and withdraw. Probably after the polls close tonight.
 

ainsworth74

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We're not going to go to war with France over some disgruntled fishermen around Jersey so let's maybe take a step back and calm down a touch. Severn and Tamar are out there doing one of their main roles. Fisheries protection. One of the big jobs of the River class is to act to ensure that fishing is taking place legally. So sailing to an area where there is expected to be a large gathering of civilian ships, potentially undertaking criminal actions, makes sense. And sure enough as far as I can tell Severn and Tamar have spent most of the day sat in the background keeping an eye on things. So lets all calm down a bit perhaps?

I would suggest this article is perhaps a slightly more sober and interesting take on things than the screaming that appears to be coming from either of the "IT'S THE DAWN OF A SECOND TRAFALGAR" or "BORIS IS STARTING A WAR TO WIN AN ELECTION" camps which seems to be taking up a lot of space on Twitter and elsewhere at the moment.

"Go Away Or I Shall Taunt You Some More" - The Royal Navy, Jersey and Fishery Protection​

The news is breaking tonight that the Royal Navy is deploying warships to Jersey to monitor the maritime environment, after disputes with French fishermen have escalated. At least two Royal Navy patrol vessels will be dispatched to monitor the situation.

There will doubtless be a lot of breathless excitement about this and what it may mean, and over the next few hours these vessels will become ‘battleships’ and excitable forums may be speculating about the case for why they all need CIWS fitted to face off against the French Navy, as we square off for ‘Trafalgar 2 – This Time Its Personal”.

The purpose of this article is to elegantly swerve the political situation as best as possible – protests are an inherently gallic way of life, and this is not the first time that the French have tried to blockade near the Channel Islands. There is all manner of complex domestic political considerations at play in France, and the situation is doubtless far more complex than it may appear at first glance.

Instead, the goal here is to provide a little bit of balanced commentary about what the deployment could mean, why the vessels at hand and why this could be of interest to the Royal Navy.

The task of fishery protection is one of the oldest tasks undertaken by the Royal Navy, helping monitor UK waters and ensuring that fishing vessels operate legally, in line with agreements made and that they are operating in an appropriate way.

Fishery protection is task that is overseen by DEFRA who have an agreement in place with the Royal Navy to provide an appropriate level of patrols each year. In general the RN has ships at sea for hundreds of days of the year, and it is rare to see a day when there isn’t a Royal Navy warship at sea somewhere around the coast of much of the UK carrying out this work.

Its important to note though that the RN is just one part of a much wider maritime tapestry that protects fishing stocks. There are a large number of inshore fishery protection vessels in use around the UK in various regions, which are responsible for monitoring fishing in their area.

For example, Cornwall has a 27m long patrol craft called the Saint Piran, which monitors local activity, while the Welsh Government operates several patrol craft too. In Scotland, Marine Scotland operates several ships, some of which displace over 2000 tonnes for fishery protection roles.

In Jersey itself, there is a small patrol craft called the ‘Norman Le Brocq’ which has just returned from a refit, and is a 15m long patrol craft used to monitor fishing off the island.

The Royal Navy operates several different types of patrol ship that fulfil different functions. There are around 18 small patrol craft known as the ‘ARCHER’ class and the ‘SCIMITAR’ class – these are intended purely for inshore use, and usually only go to sea during the day.

Primarily used for training purposes, they are unarmed and while reasonably fast, are not able to remain at sea in rougher conditions or for sustained periods. They are often seen around the waters of the UK carrying out a lot of different roles including navigation training or helping train reservists.

In fact HMS BLAZER has the honour of being the last Royal Navy warship to be boarded by the French, after in 1993 when on a visit to Cherbourg, angry French fishermen boarded her and burned the white ensign, as part of wider protests around fishing in Guernsey. On this occasion unarmed Royal Marines were deployed to help monitor and calm the situation down.

The main offshore patrol vessels (OPV) in use are the ‘RIVER’ class, which number 8 in total. Built in two batches, in the early 2000s (3 hulls) and since 2015 (5 hulls), these ships are responsible for carrying out a wide range of maritime policing activity.

They are surprisingly large ships, some 90m long and displacing around 2000 tonnes, so roughly the size of a frigate in WW2 terms. They are intended to fill two major sets of roles.

The Batch 1 vessels are used to carry out fishery protection, maritime patrol and navigation training activity around the UK. The newer Batch 2 vessels are intended to operate globally as the local RN patrol ship, and are currently based in the West Indies (HMS MEDWAY), Gibraltar (HMS TRENT) and Falkland Islands (HMS FORTH), while HMS SPEY and HMS TAMAR are likely to deploy shortly to be based in the Far East.

The reason why the Royal Navy is sending the ‘RIVER’ class vessels is that they are intended to provide long term surveillance of a situation. They are big enough to embark additional passengers, such as law enforcement officials or fishery protection officers if required, and they have a good set of communications, and the Batch 2 design has a flight deck capable of landing helicopters if required. These ships can remain on station for a considerable time, and monitor events and ensure that things do not get out of hand.

They carry a 20 or 30mm cannon, and machine guns, sufficient to provide encouragement to heave to and be boarded, but they are not designed or intended to act as warships that go in harms way seeking a punch up with a hostile navy. This is the same as OPVs the world over -they are hard working unglamorous vessels carrying out the myriad of roles that maritime tapestry protection can require, and do so in a way that is low key and appropriate.

The key point to note is that although the ships are a substantial size, this is because there is nothing in between themselves and the smaller ARCHER class. The RN no longer uses Mine Warfare vessels on OPV like duties routinely, and the days of ‘TON’ class minesweepers or ISLAND class OPVs carrying out this work have gone.

This is a classic task for the RN – send an appropriate level of presence to monitor and provide options if required. It does not mean that we are somehow going to war with France, it does not mean that the UK will suddenly gun down hundreds of French fishermen and it does not mean that there is a need to fit additional missiles or CIWS to the RIVER class.

The ships deployment is a decision for the politicians on how to monitor the situation. They provide a range of options and significant flexibility if required, but this will hopefully not be called for. There is a long history of the Royal Navy sending vessels in to monitor, observe and act professionally and appropriately and in line with the rule of law.

This is doubtless what will happen here – both ships offer a good platform to monitor and ensure that laws are not broken, and if required and directed to do so, act in a manner that is commensurate with the situation at hand. It is not likely that the ships will be used to ‘cross the opponents T’ or stage a repeat of the Battle of the Nile, and even if it drags on, we do not face another ‘Glorious First of June’…

Look beyond this low-level issue and the fact is that the UK enjoys a close and effective working relationship with France on a wide range of defence and national security issues. Our armed forces work closely together, for example there are RAF chinooks operating in Mali to support French forces, and there are a wide number of liaison, exchange and joint operation posts filled by people from both countries.

That the Royal Navy has been dispatched to monitor the situation and offer reassurance does not somehow mean that war is looming, this is entirely normal and appropriate to help monitor the situation. The wider co-operation between the two countries is deep and highly effective and is not going to be disrupted by what is a low level dispute that will almost certainly be solved pragmatically and in a manner that calms and de-escalates the situation.

The key message to take from this is that this is a classic display of maritime power to support the authorities. A short notice task to provide reassurance and visible show of support, and the ability to loiter for a sustained period to provide politicians with choices and flexibility if needed. This is exactly the sort of thing at which the Royal Navy excels at doing, either at this scale, or on a wider basis with the CSG21 deployment - Nelson could hardly have done it better had he tried…


 

birchesgreen

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Two nuclear powers are not going to come to blows over fish. Though probably best to get your fallout shelter ready, just in case.
 

Journeyman

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Two nuclear powers are not going to come to blows over fish. Though probably best to get your fallout shelter ready, just in case.
This has been sitting in my desk drawer for ages. I knew it would come in handy. 20210506_211232.jpg
Photo: government Protect And Survive booklet
 

Ediswan

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We're not going to go to war with France over some disgruntled fishermen around Jersey so let's maybe take a step back and calm down a touch.
I have only seen one "It's about to kick off" post. The other posts (including mine) seem more like a competition over who can be first to present ship spotting facts.

The scallop fishing dispute in 2018 was far more worrying. EDIT - because there was real risk that somebody might get hurt.
 

Xenophon PCDGS

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Jersey/Guernsey to France and Gibraltar to Spain. That'll upset the Daily Telegraph readers.
You forgot to mention Falkland Islands to Argentina.

Talking of the Daily Telegraph, does anyone know what the current daily recorded circulation figures are for that particular newspaper, as it seems to be mentioned a number of times in different website threads.
 

brad465

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There's debate about whether this was deliberate or part of a normal practice at the historical sight, but ITV have taken this video of someone from the Jersey Militia re-enactment group firing a blank musket shot towards fishing boats:


A member of the Jersey Militia reenactment group was seen firing on the French boats with a musket from Elizabeth Castle this morning. It's after the flotilla of French fishermen who blockaded Jersey's main harbour returned to open water.

I know someone who described this incident as "peak Brexit".
 

Journeyman

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Shouldn't it be under your desk, along with a duck that's covered up?

And why does Mum only have one leg? If she hadn't been leaning on little Johnny she'd have fallen over.
In all honesty, the contents are absolutely laughable, or would be if the whole thing wasn't about something so serious!
 

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