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United Kingdom will deploy four navy warships.

Image Credit: Daily Mirror

The Prime Minister of United Kingdom has put four naval warships on standby in case UK leaves the EU trade bloc without a trade agreement. The four naval warships will patrol UK waters and make sure that EU fishing boats do not enter UK waters.

This is a sign that the UK will most likely leave the European Union as tensions between the two sides have soared after the negotiations failed. There is only three weeks left for UK to sign a trade agreement with the EU. Failure to do so will result in UK leaving the bloc’s single market with only the basic World Trade Organization (WTO) terms.

The deployment of four 80-metre naval patrol boats of the Royal Navy have been confirmed by officials last Friday, and they will specifically be there to stop French or other European fishing boats from fishing in UK exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The boats are armed with machine guns, and as is normal practice, will have the capability to stop, inspect and impound any EU fishing boats that have illegally trespassed into UK waters. The navy ships will be deployed from January 1st. In extreme cases, fishing boats will be impounded and taken to the nearest UK port. A UK navy source said,

Nobody is going to be firing warning shots against French fishermen; firearms are only used when there is danger to life.

UK navy source.

The EU and UK fishing boats have fished in each others’ waters for a long time. In fact, around 60% of EU’s catch actually happens in UK waters. Mackerel and herring is the most caught fish.

The last time UK deployed navy ships to patrol their water against illegal fishing was back in the 1970s. During this period UK clashed with Iceland over illegal fishing. The series of confrontations between the two sides were known as ‘cod wars’. UK deployed frigates at one point to to protect its fishing boats, but Iceland has emerged victorious in its fishing rights in the North Atlantic.

Time will tell if we will see a repeat of what happened in the ‘cod wars’, in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

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