Impounded British trawler sailing home from France

A British trawler at the center of a row between Britain and France over post-Brexit fishing rights was released on Wednesday.

The Cornelis Gert Jan was seized by French authorities last week and accused of fishing for scallops without a proper license.

On Wednesday, a French court overturned a demand that the ship's captain pay a $174,000 bond for its release.

Following the ruling, a ship tracking website showed the trawler leaving Le Havre and heading away from the French coast.

The lawyer for the Irish captain, Jondy Ward, said the vessel had been a pawn in a wider political row between Paris and London.

"He's clearly in the middle of a political game because we can see that an entire story has been made around this case, while it is a relatively banal case, with a fishing activity in a supposedly forbidden zone..."

This week, France and Britain came to the brink of a cross-Channel trade war, with Paris alleging that London had not honoured a post-Brexit deal on access to British fishing grounds.

President Emmanuel Macron warned France would retaliate by stepping up checks on trucks coming from Britain.

He also said France would ban British trawlers from docking in French ports.

But at the last minute, France pulled back and now says it will make a fresh attempt to negotiate a solution with Britain.

Senior British and French officials are due to meet for talks on the issue on Thursday.

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