Saturday, December 10, 2011

Argentina launches naval campaign to isolate Falkland Islands

Argentina has launched a naval campaign to isolate the Falkland Islands that has seen it detain Spanish fishing vessels on suspicion of breaking the country’s “blockade” of the seas around the British territories.

Argentine patrol vessels have boarded 12 Spanish boats, operating under fishing licences issued by the Falkland Islands, for operating “illegally” in disputed waters in recent weeks.

Argentine patrol commanders carrying out interceptions near the South American coast told Spanish captains they were in violation of Argentina’s “legal” blockade of sea channels to the Falklands.

The warning has been backed up in a letter to Aetinape, the Spanish fishing vessels association from the Argentine embassy in Madrid warning boats in the area that “Falklands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and adjoining maritime spaces are an integral part of the Argentine territory.”

The confrontation strategy targetting foreign boats marks an escalation of tensions in seas that Duke of Cambridge, a Flight Lieutenant with the RAF, is set to patrol during a tour of duty last year.

The Duke is to be deployed to the Falklands next February as part of a routine training duties. Commanders would face the dilemma of despatching the Royal to take part in an operations to monitor or contain the Argentine challenge. more