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Captain of trawler impounded in Le Havre is Jondy Ward – a veteran scallop fisherman from Ireland

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The captain of the British trawler impounded by the French in Le Havre during a furious post-Brexit fishing row is a veteran scallop fisherman from north-west Ireland, MailOnline can reveal.

Jondy Ward, from Burtonport, County Donegal, was arrested along with his seven crew in the sea off the Normandy coast last week by the French Maritime Gendarmerie.

He is accused of illegally fishing in French territorial waters for the valuable shellfish without a licence and faces a trial in August next year.

However today the boss of his firm, MacDuff fisheries, Andrew Brown told how he was preparing to pay a £125,000 bail to free the boat Cornelius Gert Jan and its crew within the next 48 hours.

Captain Ward is expected to appear in court in Rouen tomorrow to learn his fate.

Jondy Ward, captain of the British trawler impounded by the French in Le Havre during a furious post-Brexit fishing row, is a veteran scallop fisherman from north-west Ireland, MailOnline can reveal

He is accused of illegally fishing in French territorial waters for the valuable shellfish without a licence and faces a trial in August next year

The captain of the British trawler impounded by the French in Le Havre during a furious post-Brexit fishing row is a veteran scallop fisherman from north-west Ireland, MailOnline can reveal. Jondy Ward (pictured left and right), from Burtonport, County Donegal, was arrested along with his seven crew in the sea off the Normandy coast last week by the French Maritime Gendarmerie

Ward (pictured) is accused of illegally fishing in French territorial waters for the valuable shellfish without a licence and faces a trial in August next year

Ward (pictured) is accused of illegally fishing in French territorial waters for the valuable shellfish without a licence and faces a trial in August next year

Today the boss of his firm, MacDuff fisheries, Andrew Brown told how he was preparing to pay a £125,000 bail to free the boat Cornelius Gert Jan (pictured) and its crew within the next 48 hours

Today the boss of his firm, MacDuff fisheries, Andrew Brown told how he was preparing to pay a £125,000 bail to free the boat Cornelius Gert Jan (pictured) and its crew within the next 48 hours

Meanwhile details of Jondy Ward’s experience as a commercial fisherman have emerged from his native Donegal, north-west Ireland.

He gained his captain’s licence at the acclaimed Seamanship Centre in Killybegs before taking control of a number of commercial fishing vessels.

A scallop fisherman for the past ten years, Mr Ward has previously been caught up in disputes with the French authorities.

In 2014 he revealed how he had been attacked by a stone-throwing mob of militant French trawler men who tried to stop him and his crew operating in French territorial waters.

He claimed the French authorities pretended there had been a outbreak of toxins that rendered the shellfish poisonous to stop the British fishermen harvesting their catch.

Recalling the so called ‘Scallops Wars’ in a social media discussions, he wrote: ‘The French don’t want us fishing there.

‘They [French fishermen] used toxins as an excuse in 2012 to stop us fishing there.

Mr Ward, who is believed to be in his late 30’s has declined to comment about his arrest and detention of his boat Cornelius Gert Jan (pictured) by the French maritime Gendarmerie last week

Mr Ward, who is believed to be in his late 30’s has declined to comment about his arrest and detention of his boat Cornelius Gert Jan (pictured) by the French maritime Gendarmerie last week 

The boat was detained by gendarmes last Wednesday, and escorted to the quayside at Le Havre, where they have remained ever since. Pictured: Crew onboard the Cornelis Gert Jan

The boat was detained by gendarmes last Wednesday, and escorted to the quayside at Le Havre, where they have remained ever since. Pictured: Crew onboard the Cornelis Gert Jan

‘What we done [sic] was get the scallops tested. Results were NO toxins found.

‘Every boat moved in and filled out boots. The French took to throwing stones then!’

In 2016 he was at the helm of the ISLA-S fishing boat that caught a record-breaking Monkfish that weighed a massive 77lb [35 kg] and was dubbed the ‘Don’ of the fishy underworld.

Mr Ward, who is believed to be in his late 30’s has declined to comment about his arrest and detention of his boat Cornelius Gert Jan by the French maritime Gendarmerie last week.

However the hard-working captain has ensured his seven-man crew remain provisioned and are in good health while they languish on the dockside in the port of Le Havre, France, under effective house-arrest.

Mr Brown (pictured), director of Scottish firm MacDuff Shellfish, said he hoped to secure the release of the Cornelis Gert Jan following a court hearing tomorrow and bring the crew home within 48 hours

Mr Brown (pictured), director of Scottish firm MacDuff Shellfish, said he hoped to secure the release of the Cornelis Gert Jan following a court hearing tomorrow and bring the crew home within 48 hours

Mr Ward married childhood sweet-heart Eleanor Laffan in October 2011 and the couple now have a son and a daughter. They also have a pet dog.

It comes as Mr Brown, director of Scottish firm MacDuff Shellfish, said he hoped to secure the release of the Cornelis Gert Jan following a court hearing tomorrow and bring the crew home within 48 hours.

A French magistrate will hear legal argument from both sides of the bitter fishing dispute at a court in Rouen tomorrow, just yards from the quayside where the British trawler has been impounded. 

The development comes after Emmanuel Macron warned Boris Johnson that France will retaliate unless Britain backs down in the fishing row. 

On Monday, a spokesman for the Seine-Maritime prefecture confirmed that the Cornelis would remain in the Normandy port of Le Havre unless her crew paid ‘a 150,000 euros deposit’ – the equivalent of more than £125,000. 

It far outweighs anything the boat might have earned during what started off as a five-day trip to France to fish for scallops. 

Mr Brown said: ‘Our priority is to get the crew released and bring them home. We expect there to be a court hearing tomorrow or on Wednesday at the latest.

‘We consider there are three possible outcomes from this court hearing:

‘1. That the charges are dropped and the case is dismissed and the boat and crew are free to go.

‘ 2. That the court demands that a bond is paid to enable the boat and crew to be released ahead of a trial probably next year.

‘3. That the court refuses to release the boat or the crew.

‘We do not expect the third scenario. We expect either the first or the second scenario.

‘If the court imposes a bond then we will discuss the size of the bond. And depending on the size of the bond, it may take a couple of days to raise the money and for the boat to be released.

‘But I maintain our priority is to secure the release of the crew and to ensure their welfare.’ 

Details of the sum come after Emmanuel Macron warned Boris Johnson that France will retaliate unless Britain backs down in the fishing row

Details of the sum come after Emmanuel Macron warned Boris Johnson that France will retaliate unless Britain backs down in the fishing row

Mr Brown declined to discuss whether or not the British scallop trawler had the correct licence to fish in French waters.

He explained: ‘These matters are part of ongoing court proceedings so I cannot discuss this. This will be argued in court by lawyers.’

Is Macron trying to tell Boris something? French President and PM have awkward exchange at COP26 as furious row over fisheries rumbles on 

By Rory Tingle for MailOnline

Emmanuel Macron and Boris Johnson exchanged a series of cryptic gestures today during a frosty meeting at COP26 as the furious Anglo-French fisheries row continues to rumble on. 

Mr Johnson greeted Mr Macron with an awkward elbow bump as the pair then patted each other on the arm before the latter spoke to United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres. 

The trio posed side-by-side on stage for an official photograph before Mr Macron then turned his back on the PM as he made conversation with Mr Guterres.  

Mr Johnson stepped closer to try to join the chat and Mr Macron then crossed his arms as the exchange between the three men continued before he then left the stage. 

The interaction between Mr Johnson and Mr Macron was noticeably more strained and serious than when the PM greeted other world leaders this morning. 

Mr Macron’s arrival at the summit came after Liz Truss delivered a stinging rebuke to him as she demanded he ‘stop threatening’ Britain over the bitter fishing licences dispute.

The Foreign Secretary rejected the deadline set by the French President of tomorrow for more small boats to be granted licences to work in UK waters.

Instead she insisted that it is Paris that is facing time pressure as the Government is prepared to launch action over breaches of the post-Brexit trade agreement.

Ms Truss also risked inflaming the dispute as she suggested Mr Macron is attacking the UK in the hope it helps his re-election chances next year.  

French officials have warned they will bar UK fishing boats from some ports and tighten customs checks on lorries entering the country with British goods from tomorrow unless more licences are granted for their small boats to fish in British waters. 

Other threats have included a ‘go-slow’ at customs and even increased tariffs on energy bills in Jersey. However, the number of boats being given permits has been creeping up, with the UK stressing that those who can prove a history of fishing in waters before Brexit will be allowed to continue.  

 

Mr Brown confirmed the crew comprised of four British and Irish men and four sailors from Africa and Asia.  

It comes as the French pledge to step up similar measures from this Tuesday, in retaliation for Britain not providing enough licences for their boats to fish in UK waters following Brexit

The boat was detained by gendarmes last Wednesday, and escorted to the quayside at Le Havre, where they have remained ever since.

Their skipper, who has not been formally named, has been charged with ‘acts of unauthorised sea fishing in French maritime salt waters by a third-party vessel to the European Union’.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron discussed the growing diplomatic row at the G20 in Rome at the weekend.   

Mr Johnson said he had been ‘puzzled’ to read a letter from Paris to the EU apparently asking ‘for Britain to be punished for leaving the EU’.

Referring directly to Brexit, the Prime Minister said: ‘I don’t believe that is compatible either with the spirit or the letter of the Withdrawal Agreement of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement and that’s probably all I’ll say about that.’

In turn, Mr Macron said: ‘I don’t want escalation. We need to be serious. I don’t want to have to use retaliation measures because that wouldn’t help our fishermen.’ 

Mr Brown, director of MacDuff Shellfish, which own the Cornelis, said she was being used as a ‘pawn’ by the French, and that she had not acted illegally.

Mr Brown said last week: ‘We are looking to the UK government to defend the rights of the UK fishing fleet and ensure that the fishing rights provided under the Brexit fishing agreement are fully respected by the EU.’   

On Monday morning, the Cornelis was still moored in Le Havre, with her crew of eight on board.

The boat had headed out from Shoreham, Sussex, early last Tuesday morning.

Her seizure is the latest move by France in an ongoing row with the UK over who has rights to fishing grounds in the Channel now Britain has left the EU.

Clement Beaune, France’s Europe minister, has said ‘we need to speak the language of force’ to Britain because it is ‘the only thing this government understands’.

He was immediately accused of ‘sabre rattling’ by British critics, as was Annick Girardin, the Maritime Minister in Paris, who said: ‘It’s not war, but it is a fight.’

Further retaliatory measures by the French could include a blockade at major ports such as Calais, to keep British seafood imports out. 

Yesterday  the French president insisted that unless the UK shifted, reprisals will happen within days, saying ‘the ball is in Britain’s court’.

The combative stance came at a press conference at the end of the G20 summit in Rome – after Mr Johnson told his own briefing for journalists that the UK ‘position is unchanged’.

At a G20 press conference, Mr Johnson said: ‘On fish, I’ve got to tell you the position is unchanged. And I’ll just say this, for the record. I must say I was puzzled to read a letter from the French Prime Minister explicitly asking for Britain to be punished for leaving the EU.

‘I just have to say to everybody I don’t believe that that is compatible either with the spirit or the letter of the Withdrawal Agreement or the Trade and Cooperation agreement, and that’s probably all I’ll say about that one.’

But Mr Macron said: ‘The ball is in Britain’s court… ‘If the British make no movement, the measures of November 2 will have to be put in place.’

In a day of extraordinary briefing, French sources initially claimed that Mr Johnson and Mr Macron had reached a deal on de-escalation during 30 minutes of talks. 

There were no officials or cameras present as the pair tried to reach an understanding one-on-one. 

That version was rejected by Mr Johnson, who stressed that he viewed Mr Macron as a ‘friend’ but they had a ‘wide-ranging and frank’ discussion. ‘On fish I have got to tell you the position is unchanged,’ he said. 

Earlier the PM’s spokesman said it is a matter for France to decide whether to back off the threats.

‘We certainly stand ready to respond should they proceed with breaking the Brexit agreement,’ the spokesman said. 

G20 leaders visited the landmark in Rome and wave to the cameras on the final day of the G20 gathering

G20 leaders visited the landmark in Rome and wave to the cameras on the final day of the G20 gathering 

The leaders seemed to be in a jovial mood as the two-day summit wraps up in Rome - with the action moving to Glasgow for COP26

The leaders seemed to be in a jovial mood as the two-day summit wraps up in Rome – with the action moving to Glasgow for COP26

French officials have warned they will bar UK fishing boats from some ports and tighten customs checks on lorries entering the country with British goods from Tuesday unless more licences are granted for their small boats to fish in British. 

Other threats have included a ‘go-slow’ at customs and even increased tariffs on energy bills in Jersey.  

A French aide told Reuters after thee talks: ‘The goal for both the president and the prime minister was to work towards de-escalation.’  

French sources told AFP the two sides agreed ‘operational measures’ to take the heat out of the row in the coming days. 

Earlier, they locked eyes as they visited the famous Trevi Fountain with other leaders attending the G20 summit in Rome. 

And Mr Macron appeared to shunt Mr Johnson out of the way to get next to Italian host Mario Draghi for photos.   

Mr Macron's attack dog, Europe minister Clement Beaune, stoked the row again this morning saying Britain was not acting like a 'friend, ally and responsible partner'

Mr Macron’s attack dog, Europe minister Clement Beaune, stoked the row again this morning saying Britain was not acting like a ‘friend, ally and responsible partner’

Mr Macron and Mr Johnson kept each other close as they braced for difficult talks on fishing

Mr Macron and Mr Johnson kept each other close as they braced for difficult talks on fishing

Downing Street said Mr Johnson had raised the ‘unhelpful’ rhetoric from France during the showdown.

Asked if there were any specific measure agreed to deescalate the fishing row, the PM’s spokesman said: ‘No. The deescalation as I say would need to come from the French side.’

Pushed on why the French side were claiming that specific measures had been agreed, the spokesman said: ‘You would have to ask the French government… our position has not changed.’

He added: ‘We stand ready to grant further licences as we have done throughout if the requisite evidence is provided.’

France ‘demands £125,000 for release of British-registered fishing trawler’ 

French courts have demanded a £125,000 bail for the release of the British fishing trawler impounded in the Le Havre port, it emerged last night.

Scottish-registered the Cornelis Gert Jan is accused of not having a valid licence to fish in French waters.

Its unnamed skipper – believed to be an Irish national – has been charged with ‘acts of unauthorised sea fishing in French maritime salt waters’ and ordered to appear in court next August. 

On whether the November 2 deadline was now gone, the spokesman said it was ‘entirely a matter for the French government’.

The spokesman insisted that Mr Johnson had never sought to ‘escalate tensions’. ‘We are simply continuing to enforce the law as set out in the Brexit deal.’

The spokesman said: ‘It will be for the French to decide whether they want to step away from the threats they have made over recent days… of course we would welcome that.’    

Mr Macron’s attack dog, Europe minister Clement Beaune, stoked the row again this morning saying Britain was not acting like a ‘friend, ally and responsible partner’.  

However, the UK government has insisted licences are being granted where boats can provide evidence they fished in waters before Brexit, with ministers adamant they will not back down.

Mr Johnson last night warned the EU not to side with France, while Brexit minister Lord Frost threatened to take legal action.  

Mr Beaune tweeted in response to Lord Frost: ‘After 10 months, when such a significant amount of licences, targeting one country, is missing, it’s not a technical issue, it’s a political choice and a breach of the TCA. 

‘A friend, ally and responsible partner should stand by its world and comply with legal commitments.’

He said the retaliation measures threatened from November 2 were ‘proportionate’. 

‘It’s positive to read that the UK cares about the TCA; France and the EU expect its full respect and implementation, regarding fishing rights, the Northern Ireland protocol and all other – agreed and ratified – matters,’ he said.  

Downing Street has stressed that the pair are ‘friends’ – but behind the scenes anger is mounting about the grandstanding behaviour from France, with Mr Macron facing a presidential election in the spring. 

One senior UK official said: ‘The French have made their position abundantly clear. They are not interested in a positive and constructive relationship, but only in trying to show that Brexit was a mistake.’

Another added: ‘From explicit warnings about stopping energy supply to Jersey to public threats about imposing customs controls unless we comply with their demands, this has been a concerted effort to undermine and now breach the terms of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.’ 

Emmanuel Macron and Mr Johnson fist bumped despite gearing up for a potential showdown over fisheries

Emmanuel Macron and Mr Johnson fist bumped despite gearing up for a potential showdown over fisheries

France has threatened border and port sanctions, including increased checks on British vessels, a ‘go-slow’ at customs and increased tariffs on energy bills in Jersey, unless more fishing licences are issued by the UK for small French boats by Tuesday. Pictured: French fisherman in the fishing town of Port En Bessin

France has threatened border and port sanctions, including increased checks on British vessels, a ‘go-slow’ at customs and increased tariffs on energy bills in Jersey, unless more fishing licences are issued by the UK for small French boats by Tuesday. Pictured: French fisherman in the fishing town of Port En Bessin

French courts have demanded a £125,000 bail fee for the release of the British fishing trawler impounded in the Le Havre port

French courts have demanded a £125,000 bail fee for the release of the British fishing trawler impounded in the Le Havre port

Lord Frost yesterday blasted a ‘pattern’ of threats made by France to Britain and said the UK Government is ‘actively considering’ starting legal proceedings against the country.

In a series of tweets, the Conservative peer rallied against comments made by French prime minister Jean Castex in a letter to Ms Von Der Leyen, that the UK should be shown ‘it causes more damage to leave the EU than to stay in’.

Lord Frost said: ‘To see it expressed in this way is clearly very troubling and very problematic in the current context when we are trying to solve many highly sensitive issues, including on the Northern Ireland Protocol.’ 

What is the fishing row between the UK and France about?

– How did Brexit spark the fishing feud?

When the UK left the EU, it also left the common fisheries policy, which since 1970 has allowed the bloc’s members access to all European waters outside the first 12 nautical miles of each country’s coastline.

The Brexit deal outlined how EU boats could continue to fish in UK waters, but British fishermen would get a greater share of the catch from those domestic waters.

Most of the share is being transferred to the UK this year, and there will be annual negotiations to decide how the catch is shared out going forwards.

– Why has this inflamed tensions with France? 

The rollout of the post-Brexit arrangements has caused a row, with Paris accusing the UK of failing to grant permission to every eligible French boat to fish in British waters. 

But the UK is adamant that it is following the terms of the Brexit deal which requires trawlers to provide historical GPS data to prove they worked in those waters before  Brexit. 

Some vessels have been unable to provide that data which has seen their applications for a licence be rejected. 

The Government has insisted 98 per cent of all EU fishing licence requests have been granted but France believes it is being shortchanged. 

– What is France threatening to do? 

French ministers have warned they will block British boats from some French ports and tighten checks on vessels travelling between France and the UK if the fishing licence dispute is not resolved by Tuesday next week.

France’s Europe minister, Clement Beaune, told French TV news channel CNews: ‘We have been extremely patient. Our fishermen have been extremely responsible. And so, from November 2, it’s over. We will engage in dialogue if the British want to, but we are taking retaliatory measures.’ 

– How has the UK responded?

Environment Secretary George Eustice said the French threats risk breaching the terms of the Brexit deal and EU law.

He warned the UK would respond in an ‘appropriate and calibrated’ manner if they were carried out. 

The UK Government is calling for ‘calm’, with the Foreign Office summoning the French ambassador to explain the actions taken by Paris. 

– Why was the British trawler detained?

The scallop vessel Cornelis was ordered to divert to the port of Le Havre after the French authorities said it was fishing in French waters without a licence.

The French said that another British trawler had been fined for obstruction after refusing to allow police to board to carry out checks.

The owner of the Cornelis, Macduff Shellfish, said the vessel had been fishing legally in French waters and called on the British Government to protect the rights of British fishermen.

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