Falklands boat intercepted


Lantern Swinger
From today's Telegraph.


Falklands boat intercepted
(Filed: 21/02/2006)

Argentina's coastguard announced yesterday that it had intercepted a boat from the Falkland Islands which authorities say was fishing illegally in their waters.

The coastguard said the fishing boat John Cheek was being escorted to the port of Comodoro Rivadavia, on Argentina's Patagonian coast, with 31 crew onboard. The authorities say the crew had been fishing illegally in waters about 198 nautical miles (228 miles) south-east of Comodoro Rivadavia.

The Falkland Islands is a British territory. However, Argentina refuses to recognize Britain's claim over the islands, which it calls Las Islas Malvinas. The two countries went to war in 1982 after the islands were occupied by an Argentine military force.


I'm no great fan of the Argies and the report is vague but a location 198nm from Comodoro is inside their EEZ and outside the Falklands claim, so may be justified. Sounds like a chancer skimming the EEZ limit and getting caught. It happens in the North Atlantic a lot into our EEZ.

Anyway, how come we don't get reports on Argie fishing boats being arrested in the Falklands? It must happen a lot, surely? Anyone confirm?
If I were an Argie fisherman, I wouldn't want to risk encroaching the Falklands EEZ - the only fishing area in the world patrolled by an FF/DD, a Patrol Vessel, 3 Tornados (about all they're good for) plus the Dorada - a huge armed Fishery Patrol Vessel that has already proved that they're not trigger-shy!

See here for more.


Lantern Swinger
Just by coincidence, a Yank speed skater by the name of John Cheek won gold at the winter olympics. Think it may be payback cos their olympians are crap
I've met the CO of one of the Irish Navy OPVs. Very steely vessels, and a very professional setup. Odd we don't hear much about them - especially if they have a crack at the odd Spaniard. Well done the Oirish!


Lantern Swinger
Some more details on this story from today's Sunday Telegraph.


Argentina 'arrests' British squid trawler
Oliver Balch in Buenos Aires
(Filed: 26/02/2006)

Argentina has impounded a British trawler in a dramatic escalation of a dispute over squid fishing rights off the Falkland Islands, raising tensions between the two countries.

The high seas "arrest" of the trawler last week follows a low-level "squid war" that has been waged amid allegations of over-fishing and infringements of sovereignty. Argentina claims that the John Cheek was illegally fishing in the Argentine economic exclusion zone last Monday.

The British Embassy in Buenos Aires, however, believes that the trawler, now under Argentine coastguard control at the port of Comodoro Rivadavia, 945 miles south of Buenos Aires, was in neutral international waters.

Mario Domingo Daniele, an Argentine senator, recently branded the British fishing licences that are issued by the Falklands as "illegitimate" and declared the waters "part of what belongs by right to our country".

The Argentine Chamber of Fishing Industries (ACFI) has called for "strong penalties" for the John Cheek.

"We completely reject all fishing undertaken by the colonial British administration in the Malvinas, which contravenes the rights of Argentina over the islands," said Mariano Perez, the director of the ACFI.

Falkland Islanders argue that the real issue at stake is Argentina's renewed desire to threaten the existence of the islands as British territory. Meanwhile environmental groups say that over-fishing of the waters will devastate the squid population. The World Wildlife Fund recently released a satellite photograph taken by the University of Sienna that shows the extraordinary extent of night fishing around the Falklands.

Although several boats from the Far East have previously been detained for squid fishing without a licence, this is the first time that a British vessel has been seized. The 31 crew offered no resistance when the Argentine inspectors boarded the John Cheek. The boat's Spanish skipper, Jaime Cortizo, is still with the vessel in Argentina.

Jan Cheek, the co-owner of the impounded vessel, said that the Argentines themselves encouraged over-fishing in a calculated move by the Argentines to damage one of the Falklands' main sources of income. "The Argentines are quite happy to harm their own stock if it will harm our financial viability. They send their ships out at least a month earlier than we do," she said.

Javier Corcuera, the director of Vida Silvestre, an Argentine environmental group, said the two governments were using squid as a "sovereignty tool" in the tussle over the future of the Falklands.

"Argentina gives lots of permits to fish squid and the Falklands are doing the same because they both want to exert their presence in the region," he said. Emiliano Ezcurra, the campaign director for Greenpeace Argentina, added: "Many ships enter our waters and literally steal Argentine fish."

The John Cheek is also accused of operating with a Falklands flag, which Argentina does not recognise. Harriet Hall, the Falklands' acting governor, rejects this: "We have no doubt over our sovereignty and therefore the vessel has the right to fly the Falklands' ensign."

Argentina invaded the islands in 1982 but was forced out in a conflict that claimed the lives of 272 British servicemen and civilians and 649 Argentines.

Catches of Illex squid, the Falklands' most important fish stock, have plummeted in recent years. Last year, the Falklands registered 1,700 tons of squid, a 15-year low and a startling reduction on the 150,000-ton catch of 2001.


Lantern Swinger
What is the hypothetical if Argentina were to nip back over and change all the road signs again?

Can we still change them back?


GCYZ said:

Let the Argies have the islands, they're a big ole soggy dump ! and the bennies haven't done too badly out of the UK taxpayer have they !

Seriously, if the Argies were to make a move, have we (the UK) got the resources and political will to do anything about it !

Is the FIGS still the DC or LC ? Do we still have a FIGS ?, I remember reading something a while ago about the RN was getting a brand new patrol vessel (similar to the new FPV's ?) that would be based permanently down there.


Lantern Swinger
I think the metal remains afloat to do it, but it depends on whether this government is willing to commit our forces to a conflict where *gasp* they may have the same chance of being killed as those who went in on Op Corporate.

Still, stranger things have happened.