Wednesday 11 May 2022
The Bailiwick of Guernsey will participate in the UK-France Maritime Security Treaty, providing additional security for passenger vessels crossing the Channel.
The Maritime Security Treaty, which was negotiated between the UK Home Office and French Secrétariat général de la Défense et de la Sécurité nationale, was signed by the UK and France in July 2021. The Treaty provides UK and French emergency responders with more power to deal with any potential terrorist incidents in the Channel, such as a terrorist attack on board a ferry or other large vessel.
The Treaty includes the geographic area of the territorial waters of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, ensuring that its provisions will operate seamlessly should an incident take place no matter where it occurs in the Channel. Detailed discussions have taken place with the UK throughout the negotiation of the Treaty to ensure that the Treaty can operate fully throughout the Channel, while also respecting the constitutional relationships and each island's jurisdiction over its own territorial waters. As part of this work, a Memorandum of Understanding has been agreed and signed with the UK to set out in detail how the Treaty will function within Channel Island waters.
The Treaty itself has been laid before the UK Parliament today to complete the UK's ratification procedures. The Memorandum of Understanding will take effect when the Treaty enters into force.
The Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP, Minister of State (Minister for Security and Borders) said:
"The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Channel Islands reinforces the deep relationship between the UK and the Channel Islands. The arrangement will help protect the public by reinforcing how we can respond to terrorist incidents in a maritime environment. In an uncertain world, we must continue to work effectively together to prevent and disable serious security incidents."
Deputy Rob Prow, President of the Committee for Home Affairs, said:
"The islands of the Bailiwick of Guernsey have significant area of territorial water under their jurisdiction, located between the UK and France. We wholeheartedly share the UK and France's objective to protect the public from the risk of terrorist incidents at sea. Consequently, it's naturally in our interest to participate in this new UK-France Maritime Security Treaty. I am pleased we have been able to negotiate an arrangement that respects our constitutional relationship with the UK and to agree a practical Memorandum of Understanding that provides clarity for our respective law enforcement authorities in case of possible cross-jurisdictional issues. Our participation sends a clear message that we stand firmly with our close neighbours in taking action to prevent terrorism."