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Ongoing conflict between North and South Utsire could end Shipping Forecast

In an effort to secure the long-term future of the Shipping Forecast, the Met Office, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and BBC Radio 4 today urged the UN to intervene in the long-running dispute between North and South Utsire.

Although the two rival sea areas have never formally called a halt to the hostilities – which saw Utsire split at the end of the Cod War in 1976 – an uneasy ceasefire has been maintained for the past three decades, policed by a coalition force made up of troops from neighbouring Viking, Forties and Fisher. However, in recent weeks, fuelled by tit-for-tat allegations of wrongdoing, relations between North and South have deteriorated dramatically.

This morning North Utsire accused South Utsire of amassing a Gale Force, which it says is now ‘veering northerly, backing southerly’. The South Utsirian authorities immediately refuted this allegation, stating that it was ‘moderate or good – mainly fair’ and countering with a complaint that North Utsire was ‘rough, decreasing at times – very rough’. In a statement issued at 0600, the commander of the coalition force, General Synopsis, described the outlook for continued peace in the area as ‘slight, occasionally poor, becoming very poor later’.

Neighbouring areas are already reporting a steady flow of Utsirian refugees crossing their boarders to flee the potential conflict. Fearing a humanitarian disaster on an unprecedented scale, the UNHCR is in the process of erecting camps in Cromarty, Dogger and German Bight in order to house the expected influx of Utsirian boatpeople – or as they are known locally – Trawler Men.

As devastating as the Utsirian refugee problem could be however, it is the potential threat that unrest in the area would pose to the Shipping Forecast, which is the primary concern of the international community. Controller of Radio 4, Mark Damazer, explained: ‘If the situation were to escalate into full and open conflict between North and South Utsire, then we would run the very real risk of there being further fragmentation in the region’.

Mr. Damazer continued: ‘It takes us long enough as it is to make up the cryptic bollocks for the thirty odd areas that currently exist. Add more, and we simply wouldn’t have time to broadcast the forecast. It’s the very same reason we have consistently refused forecast membership to the areas of Flip-Flop, Italian’s-Crotch and Cockall,’ he added.

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Posted: Apr 17th, 2010 by AdrianJ

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