Argentina Turns Away Southampton Ship

Two British cruise ships have been refused entry to an Argentinian port as tension mounted between the UK and the South American country over the Falkland Islands.

The Southampton-based P&0 Cruises' ship Adonia and the Princess Cruises' vessel Star Princess were not allowed to dock at Ushuaia on the southern tip of Argentina.

Both vessels, part of the Carnival company cruise fleet, had called at the Falklands on Saturday.

Argentina is known to be upset at the deployment of the Duke of Cambridge on the Falklands as the 30th anniversary of the 1982 Falklands War approaches.

Adonia is now sailing towards Punta Arenas in Chile - the next port of call on its 87-night South American cruise.

The Star Princess is on a 14-night South American cruise which started from Rio de Janeiro on February 18.

A Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson said: ''We are very concerned to hear the Adonia and Star Princess have been refused access to the port of Ushuaia.

''There can be no justification for interference in free and legitimate commerce.

''British diplomats in Argentina are urgently seeking to clarify the circumstances surrounding this incident, and we are in contact with the company concerned.''

The FO's travel advice at present reads: ''We are currently not advising against travel to Argentine ports, but strongly advise operators to check with local agent before travelling.''

P&0 Cruises said it had been told by the port authorities that the reason its vessel was refused permission to dock was because it had visited the Falklands on Saturday.

Adonia's 710 British passengers will be offered refunds for the trip ashore they were due to make, the company said.

A spokeswoman said: ''Following its call at the Falkland Islands on Saturday February 25, the local port authorities have not permitted Adonia to berth at Ushuaia, Argentina, today. The cost of all shore excursions will be refunded.

''Adonia is now sailing towards the next port of call, Punta Arenas, Chile.

''The ship is on an 87 night South America Adventure, which departed Southampton on January 13, 2012.''

P&O said it had not experienced problems entering Argentinian ports before.