British fishing boats pelted with flares & oil by French crews
FISHING wars have again broken out in the English Channel as French trawlers confronted British boats in the middle of the night, firing flares.
Two British vessels, the Girl Macey and the Golden Promise, say they were surrounded by about 20 French crews and pelted by objects such as frying pans and rocks.
Brian Whittington, 43, skipper of the Golden Promise, said of the 1.30am incident: “I was expecting it this time, they only do it in the dark.
“We were about two miles apart and I had two or three boats around me.
“Scott [Glover, captain of the Girl Macey] had 15 around him, throwing oil at him and firing flares. I was mentally prepared, I knew it was going to happen again.”
The deep-sea skirmish, some 12 miles off the French coast in Baie de la Seine, has sparked fears hostilities are worsening and a death is inevitable. British
scallopers are permitted to fish year round, but the French are not allowed between May 15 and October 1. This creates tension in autumn as the French try to keep UK boats from the best areas.
Both British vessels are based out of Brixham, Devon. Derek Meredith, owner of the Golden Promise, said: “When I heard I was very concerned. If that flare went into the wheelhouse the boat would have burned up, and would the French have helped?
“The boat would sink and the French would just leave our boys to drown.”
He called on the Royal Navy to help. He added: “Last year they smashed our windows and stuff and they get away with it.”
Despite the dangers, Brian and Scott must return to earn their living. Brian said: “I’m going back today, it will happen again tonight. We don’t fight back ... then it will be our fault not theirs.”
The boat would sink & the French would leave our boys to drown
DEREK MEREDITH OWNS THE GOLDEN PROMISE
FIRING FLARES Footage from British boats surrounded in the Channel CLASH Boats in early hours of Monday