Denial of innocent passage–could this be a trend?

In a move to isolate the British on the Falklands (Malvinas), the Argentines are requiring vessels bound to or from the Falklands through their EEZ to obtain prior approval. Recently a Spanish vessel was denied the right of innocent passage from the waters off the Falklands to Uruguay, because they had not formally requested permission a week ahead as required by Argentina’s “decree 256.” Argentine restrictions are hurting businesses in both Uruguay and Chile (as well as Argentina).

As noted earlier, this is not the first incidence of a coastal state requiring notice of transit. The Canadians want vessels to ask permission to transit the North West Passage. The Chinese are claiming sovereignty over virtually all of the South China Sea, talking as if it were territorial sea. The Coast Guard initiated the Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) and it is only useful if it covers ships transiting the EEZ as well as those going to US ports.

Perhaps it is inevitable that when a state assumes the authority to demand notification of passage though the EEZ, it will also occasionally exercise the “right” to deny passage, but this is the first time I have heard of it happening.

(In a related move, as a sign of solidarity with Argentina, Uruguay rescinded permission for a Montevideo port visit by a Royal Navy Destroyer en route to the Falklands only hours before its scheduled arrival.)