UK Parliament Addresses Cruise Ship Industry Concerns Over Falkland Island Dispute

Lipcon, Marguiles, Alsina & Winkleman, P.A

As the dispute between Argentina and the UK over the Falkland Islands continues, cruise ship lawyers may be needed to resolve issues that have risen following several Argentinean protests. Many of the protestors have tried to deter cruise ships from visiting the Falklands, but while cruise operators refuse to give into threats, they have to consider the safety of everyone onboard. As a result, many lines have cancelled calls on both the Falklands and Argentina in order to prevent anyone from getting hurt. Some of the protests have gotten violent, and if anything were to happen to passengers or crewmembers, the cruise company may be held liable for their injuries.

While it doesn’t look as though Argentina will be backing down anytime soon, the UK has had enough of the disruptions. On December 20, the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary of State, The Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP, discussed Parliament’s plans to deal with the protest and acknowledged that the actions in Argentina have been affecting the cruise industry.

“The 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. My officials have discussed these issues, and the wider issues affecting shipping, with Argentine officials on two separate occasions and on 3 December 2012 when we summoned the Argentine ambassador to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The ambassador is in no doubt about our strength of feeling on this matter,” said the Secretary.

Not only are residents in Argentina protesting, but the main threat comes from dock workers who are targeting British flagged ships. The Falklands, which currently is under British rule, was once an Argentine territory and the Argentineans still believe the islands are theirs. However, the Falkland government, which relies heavily on cruise tourism, is worried about how the lack of calls on the islands is going to affect the economy.

Parliament is still in talks to determine the best course of action and acknowledge concerns over the dwindling shipping and tourism in the Falklands.

“I understand that Carnival UK, having failed to receive assurances that its ships will not be disrupted in Argentina, has been forced to drop Argentine ports. They are the third cruise line to cancel calls on Argentina. Carnival UK will however continue to call at the Falklands, and we hope that others in the industry will similarly refuse to bow to blackmail, which is designed only to damage the economic well-being of the Falkland Islands’ people,” added Swire.

He explained that the actions of Argentinean protestors, which the country’s government has failed to prosecute, has not only affected the Falkland Islands, but has also prevented thousands of tourists from visiting Argentina. Around two dozen companies offer cruises to the Falklands. Last month, the Falklands government condemned attacks on a Buenos Aires shipping company’s office by rebels who were protesting British rule. Unless more drastic action is taken, it is likely the protests will only get worse.

Photo Credit: falklandislands.com