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Argentina warns Ghana over detained ship

 
 
 
 
 
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A sailor from the Argentinian frigate Libertad seized in a port in Ghana in connection with a debt dispute, runs pas the frigate at Tema Port near Accra. Argentina prepared, October 21, 2012

Argentina has warned Ghana that it will take legal action in an international court if it refuses to release a naval vessel it has seized.

“The Ghanaian government has until tomorrow, Tuesday 13, to sort out this provisional measure and liberate the ship,” Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman said.

On Monday, Timerman announced that Argentina would ask the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, based in Germany, to intervene in the dispute if the demand is not met.

Reporters say a local court order obtained by a US hedge fund barred the ship from leaving the Ghanaian port of Tema.

NML Capital, a subsidiary of US hedge fund Elliot Capital Management, says it asked that the ship be prevented from leaving due to Argentina’s $370 million debt default a decade ago. The firm is demanding $20 million in return for the ship’s release.

Most of the 300-member crew has been evacuated, and less than 50 sailors are maintaining the ship.

Argentina has called NML a “vulture fund.”

In a recent interview, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez said they will not pay “one dollar to the vulture funds.”

Argentina has managed a large proportion of its debt after an economic crisis and a hefty default a decade ago, but bonds in the hands of speculative funds like NML are still unsettled business.

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