By Professor Peter Willetts - In March, 1,513 people in the Falklands voted Yes to remaining a British Overseas Territory and only three people voted No. The Yes vote was a remarkable 99.8% of the voters on an exceptionally high turnout of 92.0%. The orthodox view that British voters chose to remain British is not enough to explain the result.
The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) reported to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM XXXVI) last week and as in previous years, in addition to presenting statistics and estimates of numbers for next season, IAATO reported on the Association’s recent work and activities. This year, there was a heavy focus on the collaborative work that IAATO has undertaken with Treaty Parties and other Observers and Experts in a variety of fields.
After becoming the first cruise operator to implement a brand new social media tracking service on their remote voyages to Antarctica and the Arctic earlier this year, Aurora Expeditions has now taken home an award at the 2013 TRAVEL + LEISURE SMITTY (Social Media in Travel and Tourism) Awards.
Donald Lamont, a former British ambassador and former governor of the Falkland Islands took over as chairman of the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust. He replaces Philippa Foster Back, who retires from the position having served as trustee since 2000 and chair for the past seven years.
Argentina’ icebreaker Almirante Irizar, docked for repairs since 2007 is en route to becoming another major scandal involving the Ministry of Defence and the Argentine Navy’s fleet. In the last six years Argentina has invested the equivalent of 200 million dollars in the recovery of the vessel that caught fire in 2007 and another 75 million dollars in contracting vessels to supply the Antarctic bases and stations.
Argentina’s Antarctica campaigns are losing their flair and the country is having difficulties to fill vacancies for the 2013/14 season. This follows repeated claims of alleged corruption and delays in supplying the bases and stations plus an overall lack of support from the Defence ministry.
The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) and the Chilean Marine Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) provided on Thursday details on a joint Search and Rescue Workshop conducted last month in Punta Arenas, Chile.
HMS Protector, the Royal Navy’s Ice Patrol Ship, has returned to Portsmouth at the end of a nine-month deployment to the ‘Frozen Continent’. Operating in the British Antarctic Territory, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands throughout the Austral Summer, the ship conducted three intensive work periods in the ice, and a fourth work period in the waters surrounding South Georgia.
Argentine Foreign minister Hector Timerman said that relations with Uruguay are going through “a good moment”, contrary to recent statements from Uruguayan Vice-president Danilo Astori, and described as ‘false’ the information that two Falklands’ flagged fishing vessels had called into Uruguayan ports.
A new five-year Strategic Plan, an expanded Membership and committee structure, and a new yacht dockside observer program were among the items adopted at the 24th Annual Meeting of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO), held April 22-24 in Punta Arenas, Chile.