Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Westerns Isles fishermen fear military jamming during war games creates ‘risk to vessels’

A range of vessels take part in Joint Warrior. Photo: Royal Navy

Nato war games off the west coast of Scotland have sparked fury among fishermen warning there is “a significant risk to vessels”.

The threat involves GPS being jammed for Europe’s largest military exercise – but fishermen say they rely on the positioning system to avoid potentially dangerous underwater obstructions.

Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil has now written to the Ministry of Defence seeking an immediate review of the current system.

Fears fishing gear could become ‘entangled’

Mr MacNeil was contacted by the Western Isles Fishermen’s Association (WIFA) who informed him of incidents in recent days when vessels in the Minch had received a less than 30-minute warning that GPS would be jammed leading to extreme disruption and potential danger.

Nato exercises Joint Warrior and Dynamic Mariner have been taking place over the past two weeks off the west coast and end on Thursday.

In a letter to the UK’s Secretary of State for Defence, Ben Wallace, Mr MacNeil said: “A less than 30-minute warning that GPS will be jammed is extremely disruptive and dangerous to the fishing industry and other marine users.

Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil.

“It is vital that they are fully aware of times of jamming, at least 48 hours before, to enable the fishing industry to plan future commercial fishing operations safely to avoid seabed obstructions which could result in injury to crew or damage to the vessel if the vessel gets caught in any obstruction.”

Duncan Macinnes, secretary of WIFA, said: “It’s totally unacceptable for the fishing industry being issued with a navigation warning that their GPS is being jammed within the next 30 minutes.

“This short notice presents a significant risk to vessels relying on GPS for avoiding underwater obstructions whilst they are towing and could result in vessels becoming entangled in obstructions that could result in injuries to crew or damage to vessels if their gear becomes entangled in obstructions.

Navy says it has liaised with communities

Eleven Nato nations are taking part in the war games, bringing 25 warships, three submarines, over 30 aircraft and about 6,750 military personnel.

Jamming during Joint Warrior in October 2011 was suspended after complaints from Western Isles fishermen.

The Royal Navy had issued prior warnings that GPS in parts of Scotland would be disrupted.

The Navy said: “Participants practice a wide range of capabilities across land, sea and air in coordinated joint operations with other allied nations with the scenario of the exercise mirroring a broad range of crisis and conflict situations which could realistically be experienced in real-world operations.

“Exercise planning staff have liaised with a wide variety of communities and organisations ahead of Strike Warrior in order to minimise the impact of military activity.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in