ARGENTINA: Falklands denies cruise ship due to norovirus
Posted: January 23rd, 2012 - 10:54am
Source: Cruise Critic
As diplomatic tension between Britain and Argentina rises once again over sovereignty of the Falkland Islands (or Las Islas Malvinas, as they're known by Argentinians), eyebrows are being raised as to why Princess Cruises' Star Princess was denied entry to the islands' capital, Port Stanley, last Saturday.
The official explanation is that a small percentage of the passengers had been struck with norovirus, the winter vomiting bug. But a long-simmering row over the islands has led to a group of South American countries, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Paraguay, banning ships flying the Falkland Islands flag from docking at their ports. As Star Princess was carrying a number of Argentinian nationals on its 14-day South America cruise from Valparaiso, Chile to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, questions have arisen as to whether this was a reciprocal action on the part of the Falklands government.
The ship had been allowed into ports in Chile and Argentina prior to arriving at Port Stanley. Argentina's foreign ministry issued a statement saying it hoped the decision was not "only the latest hostile act against tourists of various nationalities, including Argentine citizens who have the simple desire and hope of getting to see the Malvinas Islands."
A statement on the Falkland Islands government website claimed: “An outbreak in the Falkland Islands would put enormous pressure on our limited medical resources, and jeopardise other scheduled cruise visits.”
But Princess Cruises does not accept this and said in a media statement: “This unprecedented decision by local government officials was made, we believe erroneously, because of the number of cases of gastrointestinal illness onboard. During this cruise a total of 64 passengers (2.48% of 2,584) and 10 crew members (0.94% of 1,068) have reported ill to the medical center. Currently there are 20 people aboard the ship who are symptomatic. Despite the low number of cases which have not yet reached the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) 3% definition of an outbreak, we have not been able to convince the local Chief Medical Officer that the decision is unwarranted.”