Argentinian protesters disrupted the cruise ship industry today as they demonstrated for the Falklands Islands to be handed over.
The nationalist activists targeted the Star Princess and the Seabourn Sojourn liners as they docked in Buenos Aires after stopping at the Falklands.
The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office said today that the problems for the cruise industry have been “going on for a while” and that there have been “quite a few incidents”.
Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire said in response to a Parliamentary question a fortnight ago: “The British government deeply regrets that elements in Argentina have recently taken action aimed at disrupting cruise ships that visit the Falklands. We condemn unequivocally any efforts to intimidate companies from pursuing their lawful business.”
He insisted that cruise ships should be allowed to operate “without threat or hinderance” and said that the Argentine ambassador to the UK was summoned to the FCO on 3 December to be left “in no doubt about our strength of feeling on this matter”.
Relations between the UK and Argentina have been declining for more than two years with Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, the Argentinian President, increasingly confrontational since the discovery of oil in Falkland Islands waters.
Cruise liners which visit the Falklands have been accused by protestors of violating a law which bars ships involved in exploiting natural resources round the islands.
Argentinian laws against British shipping were introduced to primarily to disrupt or stop oil exploration but the activists have argued it should apply to cruise ships.
Their anger was inflamed today by the publication of a “hands off” the Falklands advert in Argentina by The Sun newspaper. Protestors burnt copies of the newspaper along with Union flags.
The advert was published in the wake of President Kirchner’s most recent attempt to put pressure on the UK to sever ties with the Falklands when she wrote an open letter to David Cameron which was published in several UK newspapers, accusing him of colonialism and demanding negotiations be opened.