Londan is said to be preparing legislation so the Navy can board foreign vessels who enter U.K waters ahead of a Brexit no-deal.
According to Politico, if a no-deal Brexit comes to fruition, Royal Navy vessels armed with machine guns could be deployed to guard Britain’s fishing waters.
Four 80-meter-long patrol ships will be available from January 1 to patrol the English Channel and Irish Sea to stop illegal fishing.
The U.K. government is preparing legislation to extend the powers of Britain’s naval police so they can board foreign vessels and arrest EU fishermen if they enter U.K. waters after a no-deal Brexit.
They’d also be able to impound EU fishing vessels
Although patrol vessels carry machine guns, they would not be expected to use weapons against EU boats. “Nobody is going to be firing warning shots against French fishermen; firearms are only used when there is danger to life,” a navy official told the Guardian.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned on Thursday that there is a “strong possibility” of no Brexit trade deal.
Contingency measures that were released on Thursday show the EU wants to continue allowing EU and U.K. vessels to fish in each other’s waters after the Brexit transition period ends on December 31.
This is “to guarantee the sustainability of fisheries” and because of “the importance of fisheries for the economic livelihood of many communities.”
Some 42 percent of all fish caught by EU fishing crews are plucked out of British waters.
That figure is even higher for fishermen from nearby coastal countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands.
Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern also spoke to Times Radio in an interview, saying that a “Brexit deadline amidst a global pandemic was a mistake.”
“I think to just explode it all and to go into a whole period of uncertainty and retrograde steps for Europe, retrograde steps for the United Kingdom, is the last thing they should do,” he stated.