Jersey: Fisherman criticises France over electricity ‘threat’
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Jersey fisherman Don Thompson has blasted threats from France to cut off the electricity supply to the island amid an ongoing spate over fishing rights after Brexit. French fishing trawlers and their crews have been angrily protesting amid claims the Channel Island’s government is refusing to grant them special licenses to fish. French government officials have since raised the prospect of serving underwater cables carrying power to the island, a move Mr Thompson branded “draconian.”
Mr Thompson warned that healthcare services and other vital services across the Channel Islands would suffer if power was shut off.
He told RT: “The electricity from France travels through Jersey and through to Guernsey as well.
“So that you know hospitals etc would be left without electricity.
“That is a really really harsh threat to make it, it is a very draconian measure.”
It comes after France’s maritime minister Annick Girardin said the country was willing to take “retaliation measures” if French trawlers were not granted the right to fish in the waters.
She said: “We are ready to use these retaliation measures.
“Europe, France has the means – that’s written in the deal.
“With regards to Jersey, I would remind you, for example, of electricity transmission by underwater cable. So, we have the means. Even if I would regret getting to that point, we will if we have to.”
Jersey: French boats protest in St Helier port waters
The row escalated on Tuesday morning after vessels from France attempted to block entry to the port of St Helier in protests.
Two Royal Navy vessels HMS Severn and HMS Tamar, were sent in to “monitor the situation.”
France also ordered two gunboats into the area to patrol the waters.
Fishermen in Jersey described the actions of the French trawlers surround St Heliers Port as “like an invasion”.
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One trawlerman, Josh Dearing said: “There were probably about 60 boats.
“There were a few hand-held flares and smoke flares going off and apparently a few maybe bangers and stuff going off from the French.
“It was quite a sight. It was impressive, I looked from the shore this morning and it was just like a sea of red lights and flares already going off at sea. It was like an invasion.”
Meanwhile, a former head of the Royal Navy, Lord West said: “It’s quite extraordinary to make threats of blockading, of cutting off power supplies, that really is rather sort of a 19th Century way of behaving rather than a 21st Century way of behaving.”
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