Massive Iceberg Off Argentina’s Coast Could Pose Risk to British Industry, Reports Say

IcebergInternationalIndiaAfricaMedia reports of a potentially troublesome iceberg have largely downplayed the UK’s continuing dominion over a highly-disputed set of islands off Argentina’s coast.An iceberg over 3,000 square kilometers in size could potentially pose a risk to British interests off the coast of South America including shipping and fishing, as well as wildlife there, a new report claims.“Our fisheries operate during the winter months so it may impact on their operations,” said the director of fisheries and environment for a British-controlled group of islands known as South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.After it broke away from Antarctica’s Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf in May 2021, iceberg A76 eventually split into three pieces which are now known as A76-a, A76-b, and A76-c. Now scientists fear that the biggest of those, A76-a, could get caught on a shallow bank between disputed islands near Argentina’s shores.At 135 kilometers long and 25 kilometers wide, it’s currently the largest floating iceberg on the planet.A biological oceanographer on a British research vessel which was deployed to the area to track the iceberg explained that the object’s incredible size made it difficult to circumnavigate.“It was directly in our path as we sailed home so we took 24 hours out to go around it,” professor Geraint Tarling reportedly told a British outlet.Despite being over 10,000 kilometers from home, British vessels – including military ships – frequently patrol the waters there due to colonial-era claims which sparked a bloody 1982 war with Argentina over islands that are known in Spanish as the Malvinas and called Falklands Islands by their current British-descended occupants.To this day, the UK government insists its continued grip on the islands is purely in the interest of ensuring the “self-determination” of a few thousand residents who largely identify as British.But declassified documents have shown that Downing Street has long sought to extract oil from the area – including years before the war. In 1975, an official with the Department of Energy wrote: “Our ministers are very interested in the possibility of exploiting offshore oil around the Falkland Islands.”Last year, newly-unearthed documents showed the attitudes persisted well after the war’s conclusion, too.British media revealed the country’s then-Chancellor Norman Lamont wrote in 1991 that he had “no doubt that in the event of a major oil find, tax revenues should accrue to the UK exchequer.”Such an arrangement “seems to me only equitable given the very substantial financial as well as other sacrifices that the UK has made … to secure the freedom of the Falkland Islands,” Lamont wrote.UK Wanted to Siphon Off Potential Falklands Oil Revenue, Declassified Docs Say14 June 2022, 11:47 GMTWhile the top financial official insisted “we would not want to give credence to the accusation that our Falkland Islands operation was motivated by a belief that there was oil to be found in Falklands waters,” a 1991 overseas and defense policy cabinet committee paper approved by the British cabinet was explicit.“If oil were to be found in commercially recoverable quantities, HMG [Her Majesty’s Government] … should take such measures as are necessary to ensure that HMG can secure access to a substantial share of the concomitant revenues,” the paper insisted, before ultimately asking: “should the Falkland islanders be the exclusive beneficiaries of what might be comparatively enormous wealth?”


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