* Argentina ups ante in spat with Britain over the Falklands
* Britain and Argentina fought a 1982 war over the islands
* Possible oil riches have increased the stakes
By Hugh Bronstein
BUENOS AIRES, Feb 27 Provincial Argentine
authorities stopped a cruise liner flying the Bermudan flag from
docking in one of the country's ports on Monday, upping the ante
in the country's spat with Britain over the Falklands.
Britain and Argentina fought a 10-week war over the Falkland
Islands in 1982 after Argentina invaded the South Atlantic
archipelago, which the Argentines call Las Malvinas. The
conflict claimed 900 lives.
Tensions have risen before the 30th anniversary of the
Falklands conflict this year and oil exploration by British
companies off the islands has raised the stakes.
Bermuda is an overseas territory of Britain, which is why
the liner was prohibited from docking in the southern port of
Ushuaia, capital of Tierra del Fuego province, state news agency
Telam said on Monday. (www.telam.com.ar/homepage.html)
"The ship that was not allowed to dock in the port of the
provincial capital is the Star Princess, a luxury cruise liner
with a capacity of 2,600 passengers," Telam said, adding that
the ship had docked there before the recent increase in
London has refused to start talks on sovereignty with Buenos
Aires unless the 3,000 islanders want them.
Britain will share in a Falkland Islands windfall when oil
starts flowing there later this decade. With taxes and royalties
estimated at up to $167 billion, the potential prize may
continue to inflame tensions with Argentina.
Sea Lion, a field discovered in 2010 north of the islands by
British explorer Rockhopper, will generate $10.5 billion
of tax and royalty revenues for the Falklands over its estimated
20-year life, Edison Investment Research said this month.
That windfall could swell to $167 billion over the years,
Edison analysts said, if four wells being drilled this year off
the southern coast and targeting 8 billion barrels of oil
resources come in as hoped.
A top British diplomat warned Argentina this month that
Britain would "robustly" defend the Falklands if necessary, but
added that his country remained open to talks with Buenos Aires
on any issue except the islands' sovereignty.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has vowed to defend the
(Additional reporting By Jorge Otaola; Editing by Jackie Frank)