Argentina confirms high seas boarding of Spanish fleet fishing in Falklands
The Argentine government has stepped up its official blockade policy against the Falkland Islands warning Spanish fishing vessels are operating ‘illegally’ in the South Atlantic, since they have not requested licences from the Argentine government, and controls over those activities will continue.
According to El Faro de Vigo, the Argentine ambassador in Madrid sent to the Vigo based Spanish high seas fishing vessels association, Aetinape, a letter spelling out that controls on Spanish vessels with Falklands’ fishing licences and other flags but belonging to Spanish companies will continue to be controlled because the “Malvinas, Georgias del Sur and Sandwich del Sur Islands and adjoining maritime spaces are integral part of the Argentine territory”.
Thus the Spanish vessels are ‘illegally operating’ in the South Atlantic because they have not requested licences from the Argentine government and it is Argentina’s duty “to put an end to all those illegal fishing activities”.
In the letter to Aetinape, the ambassador also recalls that on several occasions the Spanish government was informed by Buenos Aires of the ‘irregular’ situation, with the purpose of putting an end to ‘illegal fishing’.
In the letter the Argentine authorities trust that negotiations with the UK “will put an end to this ‘colonial situation’ to which the British government has subdued the Malvinas, Georgias del Sur and Sandwich del Sur Islands”.
However Aetinape understands that the Spanish fleet with licences from the Falklands “part of the British Crown” should not suffer the consequences of the disputes between UK and Argentina authorities.
Earlier Aetinape had sent a protest letter to the Argentine ambassador in Madrid based on a detailed document with all Spanish vessels operating in the South Atlantic and which are “constantly intercepted and harassed by Argentine patrol vessels” when they sail to the port of Montevideo.
The situation according to El Faro de Vigo affects an estimated forty fishing vessels and 600 crewmembers, in both cases all from Galicia, with many of these boarding incidents happening in recent months, in high seas, when the vessels abandon Falklands’ fisheries and sail to Montevideo for transhipment of catches.