In the tug of war between Argentina and Paul Singer’s Elliott Capital Management, Argentina has scored a goal. A UN court has ordered Ghana to release the military warship that has been detained at Ghanaian shore for more than two months now. The UN International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, located in Hamburg Germany, ruled that military vessels cannot be impounded in debt disputes. Ghana has been ordered to release the ship unconditionally, the court said, “Argentina should not [pay any] bail, bond or security”.
The ARA Libertad has been held at Tema harbor in Ghana since the 2nd of October this year. One of the holdout crediors of Argentine debt, NML Capital, a subsidiary of Elliott Capital Management, acquired a court order that allowed the impounding of Libertad for the payment of more than $300 million owed to NML. According to Bloomberg, the ship was worth only 1 percent of the outstanding payment that NML was looking for. The 300 men crew of the vessel left for home after the ship was detained.
Meanwhile Argentina continues to make up new names for the hedge funds who refuse to accept Argentine terms for debt payment, this time they are financial pirates. In a statement released on Twitter by Hernan Lorenzino, the Argentine economy minister said,
Earlier in October when the three-mast ship was captured, Argentine President Cristina Kircher proclaimed, “As long as I’m president, you can take our frigate, but nobody is going to take the liberty, the sovereignty and dignity of this nation.”
The government of Ghana said that they will carefully consider the court’s decision and act in a way that fulfills their country’s international responsibilities. NML Capital said in a statement, “Nothing changes the fact that Argentina has the capacity to honor its contractual obligations, but refuses to do so.”
The UN court has ruled that the Libertad should leave Tema port by Dec 22. The vessel is set to reach Argentina on Jan 9.