Navy gunships ‘ready to guard UK’s fishing waters in case of No Deal Brexit’

Four Royal Navy gunships are ready to guard UK's fishing waters in case of No Deal Brexit, according to reports.

The 80-metre vessels are set to intercept EU fishing boats if they are operating within UK's exclusive economic zone (EEZ), it's claimed.

The ships are equipped with guns – however, it is unlikely they will ever be used aggressively, according to The Guardian.

Ships will instead tackle other vessels feared to be breaking rules in the zone.

“Nobody is going to be firing warning shots against French fishermen; firearms are only used when there is danger to life,” a navy source told The Guardian.

According to an insider, the deployment in the English Channel and Irish Sea have been planned for a while.

“We have done a lot of work to ensure we are ready for every eventuality,” the insider said.

Speaking to The Sun, an MoD spokesman said the ministry "has conducted extensive planning and preparation to ensure that Defence is ready for a range of scenarios at the end of the Transition Period."

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Out of the four, two of the patrol ships will be at sea by January 1 and two others will remain at the port ready for deployment at a few hours notice, reports The Sun.

Chris Parry, a former rear admiral and ex-chair of the Marine Management Organisation said: “I would seek to make an example and take a [EU fishing] boat or two into Harwich or Hastings.

"Once you had impounded them, the others would not be so keen to transgress without insurance,” he told The Guardian.

With Brexit looming, it is uncertain how long Britain will allow other countries to have access to its waters after the transition period.

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However, French President Emmanuel Macron vowed he wouldn't give up France's 'share of the cake' and said he wasn't being unreasonable to demand continued access to Britain's waters even after the UK leaves.

This week it was also reported Brits will be banned from travelling to EU countries in 2021 when the Brexit transition period ends.

The UK will exit the European Union on January 1, meaning UK residents will no longer be able to travel freely in the continent under the bloc's Covid-19 safety rules.

The Daily Star has approached the Ministry of Defence for comment.

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