The Cornelis-Gert Jan detained by French authorities in Le Havre has been released and is heading for home
The UK-registered scallop dredger detained by French authorities in Le Havre has been released and is heading for home after a week under detention.
The Cornelis-Gert Jan is on course tonight for Shoreham after being the centre of attention and tension in the dispute between the UK and France over the issuing of fishing licences to the latter’s fleet.
The Cornelis-Gert Jan was arrested last Wednesday, 27 October, in the Bay of Seine by the Maritime Gendarmerie after an inspection found the scallop dredger was not on a list of UK-registered fishing vessels licenced to fish in EU waters. The list supplied by the MMO to EU/French authorities had excluded the vessel even though the vessel had obtained a licence at the end of December 2020 under new regulations in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and the UK.
The boat was then escorted to Le Havre where skipper Jondy Ward was brought before a court and charged with the offence of not having an EU fishing licence. The owners of the Cornelis-Gert Jan were told to pay a bond of €150,000/£127,000 before the boat would be released and the skipper was ordered to reappear before the court for trial in August 2022. It is hoped that the French will drop the charges before that date.
Andrew Brown, a director of Macduff Shellfish who owns the Cornelis-Gert Jan told the BBC that the crew were in good spirits and looking forward to returning to their loved ones.
It is understood that no bond was needed to release the fishing boat after lawyers for Macduff Shellfish successfully argued that the bond of €150,000 was excessive given the total value of the catch onboard at the time of the arrest was around €5,000/£4,200.
Talks being in Paris tomorrow between the French and the British in an effort to find a diplomatic way to resolves the fishing licence dispute.