IN THE NEWS OH COD, IT’S WAR

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Trade Directory -

THE COD WAR

This year saw Bri­tain and Ice­land square up to each other in a war over… fish.

There had been ten­sions be­tween the two coun­tries since the 1890s over Bri­tish trawlers fish­ing near Ice­land, with the lat­ter grad­u­ally ex­tend­ing ex­clu­sion zones. In Septem­ber 1972, the limit reached 50 nau­ti­cal miles.

Bri­tish fish­er­men car­ried on as be­fore, al­beit with Rule, Bri­tan­nia! played over their ra­dios. The Ice­landic Coast Guard re­tal­i­ated by cut­ting their nets, at which point the Royal Navy in­ter­vened. Fri­gates started es­cort­ing trawlers and Nim­rod jets flew over the area. Not hav­ing much of a navy to an­swer back, Ice­land’s prime min­is­ter asked the US if it would bomb Bri­tish ships. It po­litely de­clined. Mean­while, in Reyk­javik, the Bri­tish em­bassy had its win­dows bro­ken and was al­most set on fire, too.

Af­ter a se­ries of ram­ming in­ci­dents – dur­ing which an Ice­landic en­gi­neer died – an agree­ment was ne­go­ti­ated. But when it ex­pired in 1975, the Third Cod War promptly kicked off.

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