On September 2, an unusual approach of the ARA Puerto Deseado hydrographic vessel to the maritime zone was registered under the exclusive control of the British authorities, located about 40 kilometres from the Malvinas Islands.
The information was published on Wednesday by the site kelper HI Sutton, which usually reports the activity of military forces stationed in the archipelago, and confirmed by Infobaewith high sources of the Argentine Navy.
According to the report, the Puerto Deseado departed on August 20 from Ushuaia to conduct a scientific campaign in the vicinity of Banco Burdwood, also called Namuncurá. This sector has been declared in 2013 by Argentina as a protected maritime zone and is subject to constant scientific and technical supervision. The geographical feature is located about 150 kilometres east of the Island of the States and about 200 km south of the Malvinas.
According to the publication, the Argentine ship operated in the planned area, but on September 2, and away from the bank, it approached “too much to the islands from the southwest flank”, presumably turning off its remote satellite identification system (AIS) ) to not be detected.
The same source indicated that faced with the situation, the military ship HMS Clyde was ordered to leave its post to intercept the Argentine ship and went at full speed to the meeting of Puerto Deseado at 16:57. The interception maneuver ended at 19:17, as the oceanographic vessel reconnected its AIS equipment and changed course to the port of Ushuaia, where it arrived in the afternoon hours of the following day.
Sources of the Argentine Navy explained that the ship faced in the middle of its operation a strong storm that had to be weathered (put the prow to the storm), which placed the ship in course of approach towards the Islands. They indicated that the fact was notified to the British naval authorities and that the penetration in the zone of restricted transit did not come to materialize since the ship resumed its course of return to the continent as soon as the climate allowed it.
On the other hand, the Navy denied the alleged disconnection of the satellite positioner. They said that it is very likely that the satellite link of the ship has been lost at some point.
What you need to know
In 1990, Argentina and Great Britain signed the so-called “Treaty of Madrid” in order to establish rules of harmonious coexistence between both countries, assuming the fact that beyond the claim of irrevocable sovereignty over the occupied territories, on a daily basis the political and naval authorities in the extreme south of the country must coexist with their English counterparts and it was necessary to create a framework that facilitates coexistence.
The hardest sectors of the Malvinian struggle call this treaty the Versailles Argentino because they consider that the country has explicitly accepted England as a bordering country. Contrarily, the defenders of the agreement maintain that humanitarian issues such as maritime search and rescue could not be done without setting rules of coexistence.
The treaty establishes, among other things, the reciprocal information that governments must make about movements of military, naval and air units in the region, as well as the end of the so-called zone of exclusion of 200 nautical miles around the islands, imposed by England in April 1982, which is reduced to 25 miles and constitutes a kind of territorial sea .
Regarding the reciprocal information on military operations, this becomes mandatory for the parties when four or more ships or planes are involved, more than 1,000 personnel participate or more than 20 take-offs of combat aircraft are contemplated. In another section, it is also established that an approximation of a naval medium of one part less than 50 miles from the coast under the control of the other party must be notified 48 hours in advance.
The “Puerto Deseado”
It is an oceanographic vessel built for the CONICET (National Council of Scientific and Technical Research) launched to the water in 1976 and that through an agreement is nautically manned by personnel of the Argentine Navy, completing its scientific personnel of the civil research organization. Although it has military command, the ship is not armed and its hull is painted with the typical Antarctic colours that, far from hiding their presence, highlight it. It is the natural support to the Icebreaker Admiral Irizar during the summer Antarctic campaign and was used for the tasks of bathymetry of the Argentine continental shelf, which led to the recognition that the UN recently made to recognize the country an extension of the same until 350 nautical miles.
Indeed, the colonial armed forces activated the response protocols for cases of “intrusion”. But the deployment seemed to be due more to an internal test of mechanisms than to a real concern. The diplomatic sources consulted by Infobae do not report any claim or protest by the British Foreign Ministry or the diplomatic headquarters of the Crown in Buenos Aires, which would assume that for the authorities in London the alleged incident is not serious.
At present, the governments of both countries are working on a policy of detente and mutual trust (which garners praise and criticism). Within the framework of this policy, the identification of the remains of Argentine ex-combatants buried in Darwin was possible, as well as the analysis of a policy of commercial flights between the continent and the islands and the control of illegal fishing by third-party ships. countries, among other topics.