Lack of single coastal defence agency

The Commons defence committee has warned that Britain is vulnerable to terrorist attack from the sea because no single body is responsible for protecting the UK's coast, the BBC reports.

The MPs’ statement said: "We are concerned at the level of action being taken to address threats to aspects of national infrastructure such as ports.

"What assets are available for maritime security tend to be reactive forces."

"There is a strong case for developing a deterrent capability in relation to threats to civilian maritime targets.

"We are not satisfied that an intelligence-led approach is sufficient."

The Royal Navy has six warships, two patrol vessels and a support tanker protecting UK waters.

They are backed up by 120 police boats, five coastguard patrol boats and five UK Border Agency vessels.