The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) insists that the government currently has a robust system to look at merger cases to defend national security. This allows the secretary of state to intervene in transactions if there are issues of public interest.
I wonder what happened to that. I know this isn't a merger, but surely the same concerns apply?
"as it is international waters they are allowed to do so."
Of course they are, but in the past the activities would have been monitored by the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force, instead of having to ask the Norwegians and the Dutch to do it on our behalf, as is the case at present.
The Russian warships were using the SW-bound traffic lane with the consent of the Dover Coastguard traffic monitoring centre, which regulates the traffic separation scheme. Ships going the other way have to report to a similar control centre at Gris Nez.
I don't think the fact that the ships used the standard procedures can be classed as making free with the Channel. They were there with our full knowledge and consent.
It was, in fact, an ideal opportunity for our own surveillance submarines to gather important intelligence information about the Russian vessels. Whilst no official announcement about that was made (for obvious reasons) I'm quite sure that there would have been as much going on beneath the water than there was above it.
The type-45 destroyer HMS Duncan sailed from Portsmouth on Tuesday to “man-mark” the Kuznetsov group, and the type-23 frigate HMS Richmond escorted the group from the Norwegian Sea as it steamed south.
If this report is correct, at least we had a couple of our own ships tagging along and as FE points out possibly submarines.