A FRENCH warship has been seen off the Dorset coast. 

The Flamant-class patrol vessel, called the P677 Cormoran, was spotted leaving Poole Harbour yesterday.

Launched by the French Navy in 1995 and entered into service in 1997, the ship is one of three used by the French to monitor fishing activity in the English Channel. 

It is based in Cherbourg, the Normandy town, however it’s unclear why it has been in English waters. 

It left earlier today and is currently headed towards France, according to a sea tracker website.

Dorset Echo: French warshipFrench warship (Image: Maksymilian Michalczewski)

Dorset Echo: Leaving Poole Harbour through SandbanksLeaving Poole Harbour through Sandbanks (Image: Maksymilian Michalczewski)

The Ministry of Defence and Poole Harbour Commissioners has been approached for more details. 

The waters between the two nations has been subject to much scrutiny over recent years over who has fishing rights where. 

In 2018, French fishermen clashed with several British boats after a “scallop war” erupted in the English Channel. 

Rocks, smoke bombs and other projectiles were reported to have been hurled at English and Scottish vessels during the confrontation. 

Reportedly outnumbered by the French one to seven, the British boats were allegedly attacked by the rival flotilla that had gathered overnight in protest over fishing rights. 

In July last year, he UK government negotiated an uplift in quota shares following Brexit, valued at around £101 million in fishing opportunities to the UK fleet.  

Meanwhile the UK Seafood Fund is investing £100 million into the long-term future of the UK fisheries sector, helping to “drive innovation, support job creation and boost seafood exports to new markets”.