British cruise ship stopped from leaving Argentine port

British cruise ship stopped from leaving Argentine portGetty

A luxury cruise ship with up to 450 passengers on board was prevented from leaving a port in Argentina today over the Falkland Islands.

The Daily Mail reports that the Seabourn Sojourn was blocked by port workers who wanted to stop the cruise liner from sailing to the disputed islands.

The ship was later allowed to leave the port at Buenos Aires following a seven-hour delay.

Before being allowed to set sail union leaders demanded that the vessel's captain pledged not to visit the Falklands.

The cruise ship, with 330 crew members, was due to leave yesterday at 5pm local time on a 15-day cruise around Patagonia, visiting the Falkland Islands and ending in Valparaiso, Chile.

Seabourn Sojourn's UK marketing director Carly Perkins told the Daily Mail: 'The ship has been able to resume its schedule. It was delayed but it has now left Buenos Aires.'

Passengers paid between £4,200 and £9,300 each for the trip, depending on the cabin they chose.

Holidaymakers are offered a four-hour tour around the battlefields from the 1982 War, including Mount Tumbledown and Mount Longdon, where some of the fiercest fighting took place.

Tony Lopez, spokesman for the United Maritime Workers Union (SOMU), which prevented the ship from leaving the port, said the ship would not be allowed to set sail until it had been confirmed it would not go to the archipelago, 300 miles off the coast of Argentina.

He described the cruise liner as a 'pirate ship' and said it would be violating the Gaucho Rivero law, designed to stop British ships from 'plundering' Argentine resources from the area.

The union had the backing of the radical Malvinas Resistance group, which demands the return of the Falkland Islands, known as Las Malvinas in South America, to Argentina.

This comes a day after the Foreign Office hauled in Argentina's ambassador to the UK, Alicia Castro, to answer allegations of harassment to British ships and shipping companies.

Robert Hannigan, FCO defence and intelligence director, called the ambassador in after the office of a company offering cruises to the Falkland Islands was raided by masked men in Buenos Aires last month.

The Foreign Office said the raid was a 'violent act of intimidation.'

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