Thousands of cruise passengers who’d called at the Falklands were denied the chance to spend their money in Argentina when port authorities refused two ships permission to dock.
British diplomats in Argentina were reported to be ‘frantically’ trying to find out why entry was refused to the Star Princess and Adonia at Ushuaia, apparently because they had travelled from Port Stanley.
Dockers in Argentina had warned that British-registered ships would be delayed at ports because of current tensions between the two nations – but not that they would be turned away.
British Tory MP Patrick Mercer was quoted in The Sun newspaper, saying, ‘This is another piece of escalation and it will hurt Argentina economically.’
Islanders reacted with some dismay on the Twitter messaging website.
Vicky Collier, an islander living in Bournemouth, UK, tweeted: ‘Can’t believe Argentina have banned the cruise ships. That’s absolutely ridiculous.’
UK-based writer Graham Bound said in a tweet: ‘Not clear if move has BA’s [Buenos Airies’s] or even popular local approval.’
And Roxanne King said: ‘Wow the Arg Gov really have spat the dummy out! It’s the people of Ushuaia who will be loosing out. Stupid stupid.’
One irony is that it’s the second month in a row that the Star Princess has been less-than-welcome at a port. On January, an outbreak of stomach flu on board meant passengers were not allowed to go ashore – on the Falkland Islands.