Dramatic moment 35ft French trawler deliberately RAMS Brit boat as 'invasion' turns nasty off Jersey

THIS is the dramatic moment a 35ft French trawler deliberately rams into a British boat as the fishing "war" turns nasty in Jersey.

Jonathan Ruff's boat was bashed in the stern by the French vessel Lasgot as he bravely went out to sea to face the group of 100 "invaders".

Read our Jersey stand-off live blog for the very latest updates

 

 




Dramatic footage obtained by The Sun shows the steel trawler accelerating as it hurtles towards the tiny pleasure boat being skippered by Jonathan.

A sickening crunching sound of metal against fibreglass is heard beforeJonathan manages to pull away and head to the safety of St Helier marina.

The patriotic property developer said he was just "sticking up for the island" after angry French fishermen began steaming in just after 6am.

They set off flares and held up banners as the huge row over post-Brexit fishing rights intensifies.

Two Royal Navy gunships had rushed to the island "as a precaution" after being deployed by Boris Johnson.

They are armed with a 20mm cannon, which can fire 700 rounds a minute at a range of 1,300 yards.

I was just sticking up for the island and doing my patriotic duty. The French shouldn't be blocading the harbour."

Emmanuel Macron then hit back and sent a French Navy patrol boat – despite being less than half of the size of each of the Royal Navy gunships.

Speaking exclusively to The Sun, Jonathan, said: "I couldn't believe what he was doing.

"He deliberately sped up and went straight for me clipping my bow.

''If he had hit my engine I would have been in big, big trouble, I could have lost the boat and anything could have happened.

''They were out of order and if it wasn't for some quick evasive action my boat could have been at the bottom of the Channel.

"He must have known that I would have come off worse if he had hit me – he's a steel trawler and my boat is only a little pleasure craft. It was totally reckless of him.






Millionaire Jonathan runs a chain of restaurants in Jersey and is planning to also open a casino and strip club on the island.

He added: "I was just sticking up for the island and doing my patriotic duty. The French shouldn't be blocading the harbour.

"If the freight ferry doesn't leave then we will be running low on supplies within a few days."

Locals said tensions are running "very high" today as footage shows boats descending on the small island – just 14 miles from the French coast.

Jersey fisherman Josh Dearing, 28, described the scene at the port of St Helier on Thursday morning as “like an invasion”.

Boris' dramatic move to send two gunships came after French fishermen – backed by Macron’s ministers – vowed to shut off the island unless they could fish more British waters, a threat branded an "act of war".

The furious spat erupted after the island – which is under Britain's protection – slapped French trawlers with post-Brexit fishing licence requirements.

What we know so far:

  • Around 100 French vessels descend on Jersey just after 6am
  • French fishermen were seen setting off flares near the harbour
  • They are protesting over new post-Brexit fishing rights
  • Boris Johnson sends two Royal Navy ships to the island
  • French Navy sends military ship to Jersey
  • UK ministers could be drawing up plans to "retaliate"

Following today's blockade, UK ministers are now said to be drawing up plans to "retaliate" by reviewing energy links with France.

According to the Telegraph, Britain could buy electricity from the Netherlands instead. 

Meanwhile, government sources have accused the French of sinking lower than the island's Nazi occupiers in the Second World War.

A source said: "At least when the Germans invaded they kept the lights on."

Meanwhile, French fishing industry leader David Sellam said "let's prepare for war" and accused the Jersey authorities of being lead "by extremists".

He said: "All they want is to see the French fishing effort reduced and they profit from Brexit. 

"If we want peace, let's prepare for war… If we want to bring the Jersey fishery to its knees, we can do it."

The furious cross-Channel bust-up escalated after one of Macron's key allies threatened to pull the plug on the tiny island's electricity and French fisherman vowed to blockade ports to cut off food and medicine.

French Maritime Minister Annick Girardin threatened to cut off the island’s power of which 95 per cent is generated on the continent and supplied by three underwater cables.

ROYAL NAVY VS FRENCH NAVY

HMS Tamar (P233)

DISPLACEMENT: 2,000 tonnes

LENGTH: 296ft 11in

TOP SPEED: 25 knots

POWER: 14,700 kW (19,700HP)

RANGE: 5,500 nautical miles

ARMAMENT: 1x Bushmaster 30mm cannon, 2x General purpose machine guns. 2 x Mini Guns

CREW: 60

HMS Severn (P282)

DISPLACEMENT: 1,677 tonnes

LENGTH: 260ft 10in

TOP SPEED: 20 knots

POWER: 125 kW (5,352HP)

RANGE: 7,800 nautical miles

ARMAMENT: 1x Oerlikon 20 mm cannon, 2x General purpose machine guns.

CREW: 30

FS Athos (A712)

DISPLACEMENT: 108 tonnes

LENGTH: 97ft 9in

TOP SPEED: 28 knots

POWER: 400hp

RANGE: 1,200 nautical miles

ARMAMENT: 1x Oerlikon 20 mm cannon 

CREW: 13







She blasted: "We are ready to use these retaliation measures. I am sorry it has come to this. We will do so if we have to."  

On Thursday morning, French fishermen were bracing themselves to "restage the battle of Trafalgar" as they prepared to take on the Royal Navy.

Jean-Claude La Vaullée, skipper of Le Cach, said: "I’ve refuelled the boat – we’re ready to restage the Battle of Trafalgar."

The furious Mr La Vaullée, who has been fishing off Jersey for more than 40 years, said he had now been given the right to "11 hours fishing a year" in the area.

Ms Girardin on Wednesday accused Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands, of refusing to issue adequate new licences to her country’s fishermen.

Bertrand Sorre, France’s English Channel MP, said: “This unilateral decision by Jersey is totally illegal.

"We have been subject to the whims of the United Kingdom for too long. The European Commission must do its job."

Head of fisheries for the Normandy region, Dimitri Rogoff, said the French fishing vessels launched the blockade as part of a protest against the new rules.

Supermarket bosses on the island today warned their shelves will be empty by Saturday unless the Royal Navy can stop French trawlers blockading the port.

Stocks of bread, fruit, fresh meat and vegetables will be gone if freight ships cannot deliver their crucial daily supplies, CEO of Jersey Co-op Mark Cox said.

Mr Cox said the island is relying on the Royal Navy ships HMS Severn and HMS Tamar to make sure the French boats back off.

The last freight ship, Commodore Goodwill, arrived in Jersey at 4.30am and there is another scheduled for tonight, but supermarket chiefs fear it may not get through.

Mr Cox told The Sun: "The port is a lifeline to the island and it is absolutely critical that the freight vessels can get into the port.

"It's vital that those routes are kept clear, the shelves will be bare within two days if the port is blocked.

"At this stage we are reliant on the Royal Navy to keep the freight ships coming into the island on a daily basis."

Following crisis talks with the island's leadership, Downing Street said: "The Prime Minister underlined his unwavering support for Jersey.

"He said that any blockade would be completely unjustified. As a precautionary measure the UK will be sending two Offshore Patrol Vessels to monitor the situation.

"They agreed the UK and Jersey Governments would continue to work closely on this issue."

TENSE FISHING ROW

Fishing was a major sticking point during last year’s Brexit negotiations – and has now flared up once again.

Under the deal European trawlers can continue catching in UK waters for some years to come.

But those casting their nets off Jersey must obtain a licence by proving they have a history of operating in these waters.

Last Friday the Jersey Government handed 41 of these permits to French boats that rely on the rich waters surrounding the British dependency.

Yet French authorities complained these licences came with “new technical measures” that have hamstrung their fishermen with last-minute red tape. 

Jersey’s demands include French boats be equipped with tracking devices, as well as making them fill out more paperwork. 

Emmanuel Macron’s maritime minister stoked tensions by threatening to cut off the power supply to Jersey in retaliation. 

And frustrations came to a boil when a fleet of French boats steamed to the port of St Hellier threatening a blockade.  

St Helier is Jersey’s only port, which is narrow and would only take a handful of 150-ton French trawlers to block.

But local fisherman Steve Viney, 55, told The Sun: "It would be an act of war, it would be amazing to see the French try but I think they would be disappointed when they arrived and realised we won't stand for it.

"The fact that the EU is threatening an island is off the scale, they like to think they are civilised but clearly that's not true because this is something that Russia or China might do."









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