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According to sources, the reason given for the two ships being denied entry to an Argentine port was that they had docked days earlier in the disputed Falkland Islands.
Two British cruise ships were denied entry to the port of the Argentine city of Ushuaia Monday after visiting the disputed Falkland Islands earlier in the week.
According to MSNBC, the cruise ships, P&O Cruises' Adonia and Princess Cruises' Star Princess, had arrived off the the southern tip of Argentina, known as Tierra del Fuego, when provincial authorities stopped the luxury cruise ships.
The Adonia is on an 87-night South America cruise, while the Star Princess' is on a two week South America cruise that departed Rio de Janeiro on Feb. 18. Both had visited the disputed territory's capital, Stanley, Saturday.
The spat comes at the heels of fresh tensions between Argentina and Britain over the sovereignty of the islands. The arrival of Prince William for helicopter training and the upcoming 30th anniversary of the war between the two countries over the territory has put the issue back in the spotlight.
The disovery of oil off the coast of the tiny islands also raises the stakes, reported Reuters.
The British Foreign Office stated that it was “very concerned” over the incident and is working to resolve the matter, reported the Telegraph.
“There can be no justification for interference in free and legitimate commerce,” a Foreign office spokeswoman was quoted as saying.
MSNBC quoted an onboard passenger as writing on an online cruise messageboard: “We … were due in Ushuaia today after two days at sea since leaving Stanley, Falkland Islands [the islands' capital]. Last night we were told a container ship was in our berth and its crew were on strike so we could be delayed arriving in Ushuaia. At 7AM this morning the captain announced we were being denied entry to Ushuaia, along with the P&O Adonia, because both ships had come from the Falklands.”
Both cruise ships have continued to their next port of call, Punta Arenas, Chile and passengers have been promised a refund for the Argentine leg of the trip.