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Saturday, 1 April 2017

Spaniards badly rattled over Factortame / CFP

When I owned a British Registered Ship (Part 1 registration) the ship's passport or Certificate of British Registry was an impressive thing; a long blue cloth cover embossed with the royal arms containing a large fold-out sheet of an obsolete size of sea-resistant high-rag thick paper - Demy, Double Post or even Elephant, perhaps - whereon were detailed the vessel and most importantly the ownership of each of the sixty-fourths into which British law divided ship ownership. I was stated, as the ship's fifth owner, to hold sixty-four sixty-fourths of her property. I could therefore wear a Red Ensign and salute our warships. In those days Johnny Foreigner wasn't allowed to own a British Registered ship.  

Then of course came the bloody EU and Factortame. This was a court case brought by some rich Spanish fishing boat owners who declared that the requirement of the 1988 Merchant Shipping Act that 75% of British registered ship owners (48/64ths) had to be of British nationality was contrary to the Treaty of Rome and that Spaniards should have the right to wholly own Red Duster ships. They won. 

This means that not only can Spanish ships fish our waters under their own quota, they can also, through buying British ships and the quota that goes with them, take our fish using British registered ships. And there are an awful lot of Spanish fishermen, trawler owners, shore-side secondaries and Spanish government tax euros currently coming from Britain's 200 mile exclusive economic zone, under both their own and our flag. The blow to their income and commerce from being excluded in two years time will be immense - if that is what happens - and Spain will scream in agony. 

Hence Gibraltar. Now I've no idea whether we can reverse Factortame in two years - Richard North is your man for that sort of knowledge - or how we'll exit the Common Fisheries Policy, but Spain is very rattled. 

There's a deal to be done, but Gib's comfort will cost us fish.


rapscallion said...

As Factortame was a ruling by the European Court we can surely strike it down in English Law. Or just ignore it. What are they going to do? Our ships, our flag, our waters, so it our rules. Capiche.

I think dragging Gibraltar into this is a big mistake by the EU. Personally, Gibraltar is non-negotiable, and remember the Spanish signed the Treaty of Utrecht 1712 ceding it to us in perpetuity, so they can take a running jump.

Incidentally Radders I've got one of those old Part 1 registrations - quite a document. Nowadays it's just a laminated bit of A4.

Dr Evil said...

Very interesting. This is something that should be publicised more widely.

Anonymous said...

Raedwald said:

'..whereon were detailed the vessel and most importantly the ownership of each of the sixty-fourths into which British law divided ship ownership.'

The beauty of fractions, eh. Designed for divisibility. Really looking forward to seeing the lb and oz on goods again. Good workout for the brain and so human.


anon 2 said...

Steve @ 2:44 --- "Really looking forward to seeing the lb and oz on goods again. Good workout for the brain and so human."

Oh yes indeed; it would be luvvly!!!! (Esp. when we get back to "feet, miles, and steres, (and hands for horses)" :)

barnacle bill said...

Very much the same thing happened with the Certifcates of Competency, issued with one's full name written in ink in Copperplate script. Something you were proud to show a visiting offical.

Then along came the STCW certificates which looked more like something from Staples/cornflake packet.

Just like the poor old Red Ensign which has become another FOC to fly.

feargalthecat said...

Notwithstanding the Treaty of Utrecht, if the Spanish get uppity we could always 'recognise' Catalonia as a independent country. Just for the hell of it.

rapscallion said...

Barnacle Bill - Some of us have Blue Ensigns :-)

Feargalthecat - Now that is an excellent idea

DeeDee99 said...

What is it the EU says about the Brexit deal ...... it cannot be as good as membership of the Single Market.

Someone should tell the Spanish that cuts both ways. The deal as far as fish is concerned won't be as good as the one they're used to. In fact, it's going to be a great deal worse.

Budgie said...

Why the frantic attempt to deal over two unconnected issues? Gibraltar is nothing to do with Brexit. The fact that the UK will recover its own fishing grounds when we leave may be tough on the Spanish but so what? Heath got us a very bad fishing deal in 1972; the vote to Leave corrects that. The Spanish should count themselves lucky for 44 years of plundering.

As an independent nation we will no longer have to do what the EU tells us. We do what we want, which might include specifying the nationality of the owners, landing fish in the UK, licensing for lots of moolah, or anything else.

John Page said...

Theresa May will make as little change as she can get away with, so pressure from her back benches will be essential.