France drops legal proceedings against British trawler detained in fishing row

The Cornelis Gert Jan (pictured), was detained and held in Le Havre following a dispute between the UK and France over the number of licences issued to French fishing vessels by the UK. Credit: PA

All legal proceedings against a British Trawler held in Le Havre have been dropped by French officials.

The Cornelis-Gertjan has now left the port after the skipper was told he was free to go.

The Rouen Court of Appeal decided that no charges would be brought after being satisfied that the vessel had in fact been legally fishing.

The British trawler kept by French authorities docks at the port in Le Havre, western France. Credit: AP

This decision comes on the day that details of the trawler’s licence have suddenly reappeared on a list of licensed trawlers. When the Cornelis-Gertjan was detained last week the owners claimed their vessel was legally fishing for scallops in EU waters.

They argued they had the appropriate licence but that for some reason it did not appear on a list used by French Officials for verification.

That list is collated and administrated by the UK's Marine Management Organisation (MMO) part of DEFRA. Now the Cornelis GertJan is back on the list and in the spreadsheet section marked ‘EU Waters Access’ it says ‘YES’.

Jondy Ward (pictured), the skipper the Cornelis Gert Jan, arrived back at his boat this morning. Credit: PA

It was claimed that an admin error may have led to the trawler being left off the list following an engine change.

DEFRA wouldn’t confirm any specific details last week but given that it is now showing as licensed ITV News have approached them again for an explanation.