ONE of the offshore patrol vessels sent to monitor a possible blockade by French fisherman of Jersey had just left Falmouth after a refit.

HMS Tamar had completed the ever 'dazzle' paint scheme to a Royal Navy warship since World War Two at A&P Falmouth, when it was sent to the Channel Island along with HMS Severn.

The ships were sent there yesterday by the British government amid a protest by French fishing vessels at the port of St Helier over the lack of access after Brexit.

Dozens of French boats arrived at the harbour on Thursday morning, with some crews setting off flares during the so far peaceful protest, according to the Jersey Evening Post.

The newspaper later said the leader of the protest had asked the French boats to leave the harbour to let a freight ferry, the Commodore Goodwill, depart.

Paris has warned it could cut off power to the island, which receives 95% of its electricity from France through three undersea cables, in retaliation for the fallout.

The dazzle paintwork of different shades of grey, white and black comprises of complex patterns of geometric shapes was first devised in World War One.

A&P Falmouth’s team applied the new paint scheme after completing a 30 day long period of planned maintenance work on HMS Tamar last month. In total, the unusual brief took more than 2,500 hours to cover the vessel’s 2,200 sq.m surface area.

HMS Tamar, which is affiliated to Truro, was expected to deploy to the Asia-Pacific region but is currently off Jersey.

Originally devised in World War One to confuse enemy submarine commanders, trying to calculate a vessels speed and orientation before attacking, the dazzle paint scheme was phased out in World War Two due to the improvement of radar and optical equipment.

Commander David Louis, commander of the Overseas Patrol Squadron, said the Navy had decided to give the River-class ships a distinct identity to recognise their extended missions.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “HMS Severn and HMS Tamar are deploying to Jersey to conduct maritime security patrols.

“This is a strictly precautionary measure and has been agreed with the Jersey Government.”

A Downing Street spokesman added: “The Prime Minister and Chief Minister stressed the urgent need for a de-escalation in tensions and for dialogue between Jersey and France on fishing access.

“The Prime Minister underlined his unwavering support for Jersey.

“He said that any blockade would be completely unjustified.

“As a precautionary measure the UK will be sending two offshore patrol vessels to monitor the situation.

“They agreed the UK and Jersey Governments would continue to work closely on this issue.”

The row began after the island implemented new requirements under the terms of the UK-EU trade deal for boats to submit evidence of their past fishing activities in order to receive a licence to carry on operating in Jersey waters.