Falklands tension: Argentina turns away cruise ships
This April marks the 30th anniversary of the start of the Falklands War
27 February 2012 Last updated at 17:59
Two cruise ships carrying almost 3,000 passengers have been turned away from an Argentine port, apparently because they had visited the Falklands.
The Adonia and the Star Princess had arrived off Tierra Del Fuego, on the country’s southern tip, on Monday but were prevented from docking in Ushuaia.
British diplomats in Argentina are trying to clarify what happened.
Tensions have risen recently, as the 30th anniversary of the Falklands war approaches.
Argentina claims ownership of the islands, which it calls the Malvinas, but the UK has rejected calls for talks on the archipelago’s sovereignty.
Around 3,000 people live on the islands, most of whom are British citizens.
The Adonia and the Star Princess, which are both operated by the Carnival Group, arrived off the port of Ushuaia on Monday morning.
The BBC’s World Affairs Correspondent Peter Biles said both ships are reported to have been denied entry and both vessels had just visited the Falkland Islands.
Jane Archer, one of the passengers on board the Adonia, told the BBC: “It’s simply the fact that we were in the Falklands.
“They said the fact that we’ve been there means that we can’t come in to Ushuaia.
“I’ve not heard of anything like this before and I don’t think anybody had any inkling at all that this was going to happen.”
She said: “Everything was planned, we were all going to be going on excursions from Ushaia today. I don’t think anybody knew anything was going to go wrong, certainly not the captain as far as I’m aware.”
The Foreign Office said it was very concerned to hear the two ships had been refused access to Ushuaia.
A spokesperson said there could be no justification for interference in free and legitimate commerce.
It is understood the two vessels are now heading for Punta Arenas in Chile.
Monday is a public holiday in Argentina and no official comment has been made about the incident.