Falklands 30 - PM's Statement to the House and Hotting Up Latest
This series of articles perhaps suggest the concerns now evident in the South Atlantic.
For members, these items will be consolidated in the Reference Pages (Falkland Islands) in due course.
Cameron accuses Argentina of ‘colonialism’ and reiterates protection of Falklands
British Prime Minister David Cameron has accused Argentina of “colonialism” over the country's claim to the Falkland Islands. Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions in the Commons, Cameron vowed to protect the Islands' population and allow them to decide their own future. “What the Argentines have been saying recently, I would argue, is far more like colonialism because these people want to remain British and the Argentines want them to do something else”, said PM Cameron.
Argentina's government has been ramping up its rhetoric over the territories in recent months as the 30th anniversary of the 1982 Falklands conflict approaches. The Prime Minister was speaking 24 hours after the National Security Council (NSC) held a meeting devoted entirely to the situation in the South Atlantic territories which are disputed by Argentina. Cameron told Parliament he called the summit so he could make sure defences and everything else is “in order“. ”I'm determined we should make sure that our defences and everything else is in order, which is why the National Security Council discussed this issue yesterday.“
Further on Cameron added: ”It's very important we commemorate the Falklands conflict in this year, the 30th anniversary, and we remember all those who served and who fought so hard and those who gave their lives and didn't come home. The absolutely vital point is that we are clear that the future of the Falkland Islands is a matter for the people themselves. As long as they want to remain part of the United Kingdom and be British, they should be able to do so.”
Tory MP Andrew Rosindell branded Argentina's actions “wholly deplorable” and urged PM Cameron to “remind Argentina they lost the Falklands War and that it's up to the Falklanders to determine their own future”. On December 21 last year Mercosur, which includes Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Paraguay, announced that it would bar ships sailing under the Falkland Islands flag from docking at their ports. But earlier this month, HMS Protector, the Royal Navy's ice patrol vessel currently on a scientific mission to the South Atlantic, called at Montevideo, Uruguay, en route to the Falklands
Chile ratifies its position and denies existence of a Malvinas blockade
Chile ratified this week that vessels flying the Malvinas flag will continue to be barred from Chilean ports and that the country’s position relative to the issue has not changed and denies the existence of a blockade. A brief statement from the Chilean Foreign Affairs ministry indirectly refers to the latest statement by UK Foreign Secretary William Hague. Following on recent media reports “the Ministry of Foreign Relations must underscore that Chile will continue to apply, in accordance with International Law and Chilean legislation, the measures destined to impede vessels flying the flag of the Malvinas Islands from entering Chilean ports in abidance of commitments adopted in declarations released in the framework of the Union of South American Nations, Unasur, meeting on 26 November 2010 and the recent Mercosur Summit of heads of State and heads of Government, and associate states, last 20 December 2011”.
The release refers to the statement by Foreign Secretary William Hague to Parliament when he mentions that “we have had productive and honest discussions with Uruguay, Chile and Brazil. All three countries have said that they have no intention of participating in an economic blockade of the Falkland Islands and that all Falklands-related commercial shipping will continue to enjoy access to their ports, in accordance with domestic and international law, if they are flying the Red Ensign or another national flag when docked”. This paragraph triggered an immediate reaction from Argentina which contacted the three countries mentioned in the statement.
Chilean diplomatic sources insisted that the measure to which Chile adhered is not a blockade in “technical terms” since if the vessels fly any other flag which is not that of the Malvinas Islands, which Chile does not recognize, they can call and dock in the country’s ports. Chile is an associate member of Mercosur, belongs to Unasur and will organize and host the next summit of the recently created Celac, Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.
MV Star Princess ban from Falkland Islands - health reasons not politics
FOR only the second time in recent years, on January 14 the Falkland Islands Government refused permission for a cruise ship to land its passengers in the islands' capital, Stanley. The ship in question was the Star Princess which had 2,608 passengers aboard. The reason for the ban, according to a press release from a government spokesperson was the presence on the ship of the highly infectious norovirus, which causes sickness and diarrhoea. At the time of the ship's arrival it was at what was described as 'red alert' status with 58 registered cases. This decision, described as “difficult” in the communiqué, was taken by the Islands' Chief Medical Officer , “following agreed protocols” and after “consultation with both the ship's doctor and a consultant microbiologist in the UK.”
Suggestions from Argentina that the decision to cancel the ship's visit was made as a reprisal for the recent Mercosur countries decision to ban vessels flying the Falkland Islands flag are being ridiculed in Stanley, where the loss of a visit by a ship of this size may have cost the economy over £100,000, including the £46,944 which would have gone to the government's coffers from passenger arrival tax alone.
Source: Penguin News
HMS Montrose on patrol in South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands
The Royal Navy Type 23 frigate HMS Montrose”, with a crew of 185 made a several days patrol visit to South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, GSSI, waters in December. The ship is fulfilling the role of Atlantic Patrol Task (South) ship and had previously visited some of the other British South Atlantic Islands, reports the South Georgia Newsletter, December edition.
The vessel called in to Grytviken on December 16th, landing personnel for an afternoon to explore the area. Another team of explosive experts landed to dispose of recent ordnance finds in the area, including a two-inch mortar and a rifle grenade. Whilst dealing with the grenade the EOD spotted and dealt with another partially discharged rifle grenade in the same area on the lower slopes of Mt Hodges.
The ship sailed for the South Sandwich Islands the following day, patrolling down the remote island chain until prevented from going further south by ice conditions.
After the successful mission the vessel returned via South Georgia en-route to the Falkland Islands, calling in briefly to collect mail and allow a few more to get ashore before sailing to Mare Harbour (Falkland Islands) in time for Christmas.
South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands Strategy 2010-2015.
Geography & History.
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (SGSSI) are a UK Overseas Territory, situated 800 miles SE of the Falkland Islands. The main island of South Georgia is approximately 170 km long and between 2 and 40 km wide and occupies an area of 3,755 km2, more than half of which is permanently ice covered. Mt Paget rises to 2,934 m and is the highest point in all UK mainland and territories. The South Sandwich Islands are a chain of eleven small volcanic islands stretching from 56-60oS, 350-500 miles SE of South Georgia. The South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands Maritime Zone (200 nm from baselines) occupies in excess of 1,000,000 km2 of the Southern Ocean.
South Georgia was first sighted by London merchant Antoine de la Roche in 1675 and was claimed for Great Britain by James Cook in 1775, with government arrangements established by Letter Patent in 1843. Cook also discovered the South Sandwich Islands (1775) and the islands were subsequently annexed by Great Britain through the 1908 Letters Patent. The Territories have been under UK administration since 1908, but were briefly occupied by Argentinean forces in 1982.
Until 1985, SGSSI were part of the Falkland Island Dependencies, after which they became a separate UK Overseas Territory. Argentina has maintained a claim to the sovereignty of South Georgia since 1927 and to the South Sandwich Islands since 1948.
SGSSI are of global significance as a relatively pristine and rich environment that sustains major populations of seabirds and marine mammals including globally threatened species, like the iconic wandering albatross. South Georgia is also home to one of the longest and most detailed scientific datasets in the Southern Ocean, with over 30 years of population data on seabirds and marine mammals at Bird Island.
South Georgia waters are highly productive, supporting a large biomass of krill, on which many marine predators depend. The waters around South Georgia have also been identified as a globally important location for marine benthic biodiversity, but that biodiversity is under threat from rapid regional warming.
In contrast to South Georgia, the South Sandwich Islands are rarely visited and information on the terrestrial and marine flora and fauna is sparse. Recent scientific work on the RRS James Cook has indicated hydrothermal activity in deep water off the SSI, which may be home to unique fauna.
There are no permanent residents in the Territory but the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) operates two bases on South Georgia. The base at King Edward Point (KEP) is operated under contract to GSGSSI and the FCO and is staffed by eight BAS personnel, plus two GSGSSI Officers and their spouses. Bird Island has a year round complement of four BAS personnel who undertake long-term monitoring of seabirds and marine mammals. The South Sandwich Islands are uninhabited, though an originally undetected, and subsequently allowed, manned Argentinean research station was located on Thule from 1976 to 1982.
GSGSSI is financially self-sufficient, with annual revenue of around £4.5 million, which is derived primarily from fishing licences, tourist landing fees and sale of stamps. Revenue is spent on fisheries research and protection, fisheries observers, salaries of established staff and environmental management. Reserves currently stand at around £2.25 million.
GSGSSI Strategic Objectives.
- To manage the affairs of SGSSI and the surrounding 200 nautical mile Maritime Zone, through good, efficient and effective government
- To conserve the relatively pristine nature of the Territory’s environment, preserving and, where practicable, restoring the native biodiversity and habitats
- To provide safe and sustainable management of SGSSI fisheries to ensure minimal impact on non-target species and habitats, including engaging in CCAMLR
- To manage tourism in a way that has minimum impact on the SGSSI environment but optimises the income to the Territory and contributes to the overall regional management of commercial tourism
- To preserve where practicable, the unique industrial heritage of South Georgia either in situ or through transfer to museums
- To encourage high quality scientific research to underpin GSGSSI management of the Territories
- To manage government finances prudently and, where possible, to diversify the Territory’s revenue streams, which are heavily dependent on income from fishing licences
- To maintain the inhabited facilities at King Edward Point and Grytviken to a reasonable and environmentally friendly standard
- To improve public awareness of South Georgia issues by effective and economic dissemination of information
For Full document follow the link: http://www.sgisland.gs/download/South%20Georgia%20Strategy%20final.pdf and attachment
Thirteen cruise vessels call at South Georgia - growing number of Chinese visitors.
Thirteen cruise vessels visited South Georgia last December including new vessel “L'Austral” which, in line with usual practice, was joined by a Government Observer to look at the ship's operation, passenger management and bio-security procedures, reports the South Georgia Newsletter. L'Austral is the second of two super-luxury cruise ships built by Fincantieri for French-based cruise-line operator Compagnie du Ponant. The ship is also called a mega-yacht due to its size and sophisticated decor. The first cruise ship, Le Boréal, was launched in October 2009 while the second, L'Austral, was launched at Ancona shipyard in April 2010. The official ceremony of the cruise ship took place on 26 April 2011 in Marseille. The ship has an overall length of 142m, a moulded breadth of 18m and a draught of 4.7m. The vessel's gross tonnage is 10,700t. The cruise ship can accommodate over 264 guests in 132 staterooms.
Another vessel “Plancius” was acting as support vessel for two groups attempting the Shackleton Crossing. Several ships visiting around Christmas time held services in the old church at Grytviken. One vessel “Fram”, which had 200 passengers on board, included a small group of Chinese tourists as they have on several past cruises. Next season they have plans for a complete Chinese charter of the 200+ passenger vessel. Unusually for the summer season, after charter yacht “Pelagic Australis” left at the beginning of the month, there were no yachts around the Island.
In late December the Dutch training tall ship “Bark Europa” also called in King Edward Cove. The Royal Navy Atlantic patrol “HMS Montrose” was also in the area in December