Argentina has closed the port of Ushuaia to two cruise ships which had visited the Falkland capital Port Stanley just two days earlier. Passengers who had been hoping to go ashore in the most southerly city in the world found they had been turned away as diplomatic tension increases over the disputed islands.
P&O’s Adonia is carrying 710 passengers, mostly from the UK, on an 87-night voyage around South America. Star Princess, with 2,580 passengers on board – 284 of them British – is on a 14-night cruise which began in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Both are part of the US-owned Carnival Corporation.
The ships are now continuing to the Chilean port of Punta Arenas.
The Foreign Office said it was “very concerned” at the development, adding: “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.”
In a bald statement, a P&O spokeswoman said: “Following its call at the Falkland Islands on Saturday February 25, the local port authorities have not permitted Adonia to berth at Ushuaia, Argentina; today
Travel writer Jane Archer, who is on board Adonia, said the news was broken to passengers in an announcement from the captain at 7.00 am local time. “He said the port authorities would not allow us to dock, absolutely refusing, even though the port agents were asked to negotiate on our behalf,” she said.
I had, in fact, predicted that Adonia may be turned away from Ushuaia when I wrote earlier this month about increasing tension as the 30th anniversary of the Falkland conflict approaches.
Ironically, Star Princess was refused entry to Port Stanley a few weeks ago because medical authorities on the island were concerned about an outbreak of gastro-intestinal illness among passengers on the ship.