P&O Cruises cancels stops at Argentine ports over Falklands
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P&O Cruises has announced its liners will stop visiting Argentine ports on its trips to the Falkland Islands next year.
There is an increasing row between Britain and Argentina over cruise ships, and nationalists at Argentine ports have succeeded in delaying ships suspected of heading to or returning from, the islands.
P&O said that its ships Arcadia and Adonia would continue to visit Stanley in the Falkland Islands, but would no longer call at Puerto Madryn, Ushuaia and Buenos Aires, with those stops being replaced by Montevideo in Uruguay.
A spokesperson told the Daily Telegraph: "On numerous occasions over the last year ships associated with Britain and flying the red ensign have not been permitted to call into Argentina or have been severely delayed.
"Over the past few months we have been working with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and our local agents to gain assurances from the Argentine government that our ships will be allowed to call into their ports.
"We have been unable to gain these assurances and the risk of being refused entry or being delayed is too high.
"As a British cruise company we cannot allow ourselves to be the subject of any political dispute or put our customers and crew into any situation where their enjoyment may be compromised."
Alicia Castro, the Argentine ambassador to London, was last week summoned to the Foreign Office, who accused her country of attempting to "strangle" the economy of the Falklands and blasted its "shameful" action against cruise lines.
Indeed, about a quarter of the working population of the Falklands is involved in cruise ship tourism, which is worth around £10 million to its economy.
Hattie Kilmartin, who runs the Sea Cabbage Cafe, a museum and a penguin tour at Bluff Cove Lagoon, said the islands have already lost 80 per cent of projected income this season. She told the Daily Telegraph: "Ours is one of many small businesses being destroyed by these [Argentina's] bullying tactics and many islanders are affected."
The President of Argentina has launched a diplomatic offensive to assert her country's claims to the islands.
In response, the legislative assembly of the islands is set to hold a referendum of the 3,000 residents in early March on its status as a British overseas territory.
Back in February, two British cruise ships carrying a combined 3,300 passengers were turned away from an Argentina port after visiting the Falklands.
The Adonia and Star Princess arrived off Tierra Del Fuego, but were not allowed to dock in Ushuaia.
The move was seen as a snub in a row between Argentina and Britain as the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War approached.
And, at the beginning of December, a luxury cruise ship with up to 450 passengers on board was prevented from leaving a port in Argentina over the Falkland Islands.
The Daily Mail reports that the Seabourn Sojourn was blocked by port workers who wanted to stop the cruise liner from sailing to the disputed islands.
The ship was later allowed to leave the port at Buenos Aires following a seven-hour delay.
Before being allowed to set sail union leaders demanded that the vessel's captain pledged not to visit the Falklands.
British cruise ship stopped from leaving Argentine port
Two British cruise ships refused entry to Argentine port