Brit liners refused entry into Argentina
By ROBIN PERRIE
Published: Today at 15:37
TWO British cruise ships were refused entry to an Argentinian port today as the row over the Falklands escalated.
The Star Princess with 2,600 people on board and the Adonia, carrying 700, were due to dock in the port of Ushuaia two days after visiting Port Stanley.
But as they approached they were told they did not have permission to berth.
The snub is the latest spat in an increasingly bitter row as the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War approaches.
Argentina has accused Britain of aggression over Prince William’s six-week tour of duty as an RAF chopper pilot in the region.
And Prime Minister David Cameron has revealed that UK security chiefs have recently discussed plans to defend the Falklands.
A string of British cruise ships regularly call at Argentinian ports and UK diplomats were frantically trying to clarify the situation.
A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: “We are very concerned to hear that the Adonia and Star Princess have been refused access to the port of Ushuaia. We are looking into this urgently.
“There can be no justification for interference in free and legitimate commerce. British diplomats in Argentina are urgently seeking to clarify the circumstances surrounding this incident, and we are in contact with the companies concerned.”
Conservative MP and former Army officer Patrick Mercer blasted the Argentinian authorities.
He said: “I just hope they know what they are doing.
“This is another piece of escalation and it will hurt Argentina economically.
“They understand that the 30th anniversary of the Falklands war is approaching and are trying to make political capital from it.”
The Adonia, operated by P&O Cruises, set off from Southampton on January 13 on an 87-day cruise called a South America Adventure, with people paying up to £30,000 for the best cabins.
The vessel docked at Port Stanley on Saturday and then set off for Ushuaia, the capital of the Tierra del Fuego province which Argentina claims has jurisdiction over the Falklands.
The Star Princess, operated by Princess Cruises, also docked at the Falklands’ capital on Saturday and was due to dock at Ushuaia at 7am today.
Tourists on both ships were planning to spend the day in Ushuaia – famed as the southernmost city in the world.
But as the vessels approached, their port agents contacted both captains to reveal the local authorities had refused permission to dock.
A spokesman for the Star Princess said: “The ship’s captain only found out as they were approaching the port.
“He was contacted by our port agent who informed him that the authorities had refused permission for the ship to berth.
“The ship carried on to the next destination.”
The Star Princess was on a 14-night cruise which ends in Chile on March 3. Tourists paid up to £4,249 for the cruise.
A spokesman for the Adonia said: “Following it’s call at the Falkland Islands on Saturday February 25, the local port authorities have not permitted Adonia to berth at Ushuaia.”
The Adonia headed to its next destination in Chile. It returns to Southampton in April.
Travel journalist Jane Archer, who is on the Adonia, said: “Before we docked the Captain told us that he had been prevented from docking by the port director and that we were having to turn around.
“The same applied to the Star Princess which was in the Falkands with us when we were there over the weekend.
“The order came from the port director but my feeling is that it would have come from higher up. There are 3,300 people on board both ships which is an awful lot of money for the local people to lose.”
There are 2,580 passengers onboard the Star Princess, of which 284 are British. Almost all of the 700 passengers on the Adonia are British.