After being impounded by the French in the ongoing fight over post-Brexit fishing rights, the crew of a British trawler were 'in excellent spirits' as they celebrated their return to the UK today. Cornelis Gert Jan, a scallop dredger, left Le Havre after being detained there for a week after France accused it of fishing in French waters without a valid licence.
Andrew Brown said, "the court concluded that no bond was required for the vessel's release. We are relieved to have this situation resolved, and thrilled that our crew and vessel can finally return home."
France has threatened sanctions in response to what it sees as a refusal to grant its trawlers licences to operate in UK waters. The UK government claimed that the vast majority of licence applications had been approved.
President Emmanuel Macron of France has postponed the deployment of punitive measures until the UK, France, and the European Commission hold talks.
However, the French government has stated that if an agreement cannot be struck, the measures - which may include a ban on British trawlers landing their catches in French ports and tighter customs procedures to restrict cross-Channel trade - will remain 'on the table.'
The possibility of sanctions remains, said government spokesman Gabriel Attal. "As you are aware, the control measures that we announced are still suspended, but all options remain on the table, and we may need to take those actions if we do not reach a deal."
“We are simply waiting for the UK to respect the agreement that they signed,” he said.
European Union vessels that can show they fished in British waters in at least four of the years from 2012 to 2016 are eligible for a licence under the Brexit deal. A total of 1,831 licence applications were received, with 1,793 being granted.