Royal Navy vessels armed with machine guns could be deployed to guard Britain’s fishing waters if there is a no-deal Brexit.
Four 80-meter-long patrol ships will be available from January 1 to patrol the English Channel and Irish Sea to stop illegal fishing, according to local media.
The U.K. government is preparing legislation to extend the powers of Britain’s naval police so they can board foreign vessels and arrest EU fishermen if they enter U.K. waters after a no-deal Brexit. They’d also be able to impound EU fishing vessels.
Although patrol vessels carry machine guns, they would not be expected to use weapons against EU boats. “Nobody is going to be firing warning shots against French fishermen; firearms are only used when there is danger to life,” a navy official told the Guardian.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned on Thursday that there is a “strong possibility” of no Brexit trade deal.
As part of contingency measures released on Thursday, the EU wants to continue allowing EU and U.K. vessels