The measures, put in place “to protect our rights as an independent coastal state” includes “numerous patrol vessels across military and marine organizations that are used to provide physical presence, deterrence and inspection capability,” the ministry said in a statement.
Four offshore patrol vessels “will be available to patrol UK waters to assist other government departments where needed,” the ministry said.
The move comes as Brexit negotiations between Britain and the European Union enter a crucial 48 hours, with both sides expressing skepticism about reaching a deal before a Sunday deadline.
Fishing has been one of the sticking points in the negotiations and access to each side’s waters is set to end next year.
“The MOD has conducted extensive planning and preparation to ensure that Defence is ready for a range of scenarios at the end of the Transition Period,” a UK defense ministry spokesperson said Saturday.
“This preparation includes a standby package of 14,000 personnel to ensure that we are ready to support other government departments and authorities over the winter period, including with the EU transition, Covid-19 and potential severe weather events,” the spokesperson said.
Shrewsbury and Atcham MP Daniel Kawczynski urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to protect UK’s waters from “illegal French fishing” in the case of a no-deal Berxit.
“In the event of no deal with EU on Sunday we must receive absolute guarantee from Boris Johnson that British naval forces will be deployed from January 1 to prevent illegal French fishing in our waters,” Kawczynski said in a tweet on Friday.
Johnson said Friday he was hopeful of reaching a deal, but that the scenario was becoming increasingly unlikely.
“We’re hopeful that progress can be made, but I’ve got to tell you that, from where I stand now here in Blyth, it’s looking very, very likely that we will have to go for a solution that I think would be wonderful for the UK. We would be able to do exactly what we want from January the first,” he said.
“It obviously would be different from what we set out to achieve, but I’ve no doubt that this country can get ready and can come out on world trade terms.”
Source : Cnn