French court frees British trawler seized in row over fishing rights

The crew of the scallop trawler Cornelis-Gert Jan stand on the deck as they leave the northern French port of Le Havre on Nov 3, 2021. PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (REUTERS) - A French court ruled on Wednesday (Nov 3) that a British trawler impounded by French authorities could sail for home, overturning an earlier demand that its captain pay a €150,000 (S$230,000) deposit, a lawyer for the captain said.

The Cornelis Gert Jan was seized last week, with French authorities saying it had been caught fishing for scallops in French territorial waters without a proper licence.

The lawyer for the Irish captain, Jondy Ward, said earlier the vessel was a pawn in a wider political row between Paris and London over fishing rights after Britain's departure from the European Union.

Ship tracking website showed the vessel was still moored in the French port of Le Havre, where it was impounded.

Its declared destination was listed on the site as "FREEDOMMMM".

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