The “scallop wars” incident has revealed London does not have enough ships to patrol the country’s territorial waters, says a former first sea lord.
Admiral Lord West of Spithead, former first sea lord — the chief of Navy and all in the UK — says London won’t be able to patrol its own territorial waters after Brexit, let alone protect its fishing boats working in foreign waters.
According to Lord West, a recent clash between British and French fishermen, dubbed “scallop wars” by the media has exposed the “insufficient” number of ships in the country’s arsenal.
“It is clear that we have insufficient ships to patrol the United Kingdom’s territorial seas and our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ),” he wrote in a letter to The Daily Telegraph.
“Coordination of the few ships we do have is fragmented. In theory, coordination is exercised by the colocated Joint Maritime Operations Command Center,” he continued. “But this command center lacks a single commander with authority to order government departments to take action, and therefore is unable to exercise proper command.”
“After Brexit, this will be disastrous,” the letter says.
When the UK leaves the EU, it will become responsible for patrolling its own EEZ, rather than sharing a common EEZ with the entire Union. Under current agreements, all EU nations are allowed free access to each other’s territorial waters more than 12 nautical miles from the shore. After Brexit, any access to territorial…