P&O, a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation Plc and one of the world’s leading cruise operators will be omitting Puerto Madryn, Ushuaia and Buenos Aires from its 2013 season because of the difficulties encountered by its red ensign vessels in Argentine ports during recent months. However the company confirms that the vessels will continue to call in the Falkland Islands.
In an official release the company said that “in these last months we have been working with the Foreign Office and our local agents to obtain reassurances from the Argentine government that our vessels will be allowed to dock in the country’s ports. We have been unable to secure this reassurance and the risk that access is rejected or the vessel delayed is too high”.
“As a British cruise company we can’t allow ourselves to be subject to any political dispute or put our passengers and our crew in any situation in which their enjoyment is compromised”, adds the release.
Furthermore in recent times the red ensign has not been allowed to dock in Argentine ports or has been delayed, in reference to the ‘Gaucho Rivero Law’ implemented in five Argentine provinces which implies the impediment to berth, permanence, supply and logistics operations to British vessels or flying convenience flags.
The law is targeted to vessels from the oil industry, but it has reached the cruise vessels with several of them desisting to call in Falklands/Malvinas Islands, whose sovereignty Argentina claims.
Last November according to press reports, radical activists protested against a company which sells cruise packages which include Malvinas and the façade of the office was attacked with Molotov bombs in the Retiro quarter of the city of Buenos Aires.
Following the incident the UK government summoned the Argentine ambassador in London demanding explanations regarding the “alleged intimidation and harassment actions” against cruise vessels that include the Malvinas in their itineraries.
“Therefore to ensure our customer’s enjoyment of their cruise, we have taken the decision to cancel our scheduled calls to Argentina for the forthcoming Arcadia and Adonia world cruises.
“Letters have been sent to passengers today, via their travel agents where appropriate, to inform them of the changes to their itinerary and where directly affected, the change to their turnaround port from Buenos Aires to Montevideo in Uruguay” concludes the release.