Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Yesterday, Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman sent Ghana a warning — release the ARA Libertad tomorrow or we’re going to Court, reports Merco Press.The ARA Libertad is an Argentine naval vessel being held in Ghana because a New York Court ordered an embargo on Argentine assets.
This was all prompted by hedge fund manager Paul Singer, of Elliott Capital. Argentina owes Singer $1.3 billion in bonds due 2017 after an investment he made in 2001.
Other hedge fund managers who made the same investment decided to restructure the debt and take a haircut. Singer, however, wants all his money, so he got a Ghanaian Court to hold the ARA Libertad as collateral. Last week, a New York Judge also ordered Argentina to start paying Singer in December.
Argentina has said there’s no way they’re going to pay Singer or any other of the “vulture funds” knocking on the door, so it’s taking the issue to Ghana. They say the ship (and the 44 person crew on it) has to be freed or they’re suing on the basis of international sea law.
“Despite all the efforts and given the reluctance of Ghana to comply with its international obligations and lift the illegitimate embargo on the frigate, and taking into account that both countries are signatories of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Foreign Ministry following precise instructions from President Cristina Fernandez has initiated the arbitration mechanism which is the procedure for the solution to controversy between two sides and which contemplates an instance of cautionary measures before the Law of the Sea International Tribunal in the city of Hamburg”, said Timerman.
Timerman revealed that last 30 October Ghana was notified Argentina’s decision to submit the controversy to the arbitration procedure according to Article 1 from Annex VII of the Convention. Argentina requests from the Convention “to adopt the provisional measure consistent in allowing re-supply conditions and the exit of the Argentine war vessel from the jurisdictional waters”.
“The Government of Ghana has until tomorrow, Tuesday 13 to order this provisional measure and release the vessel. If not, a day later, 14 November the Argentine government will demand this measure before the Tribunal as exposed by Article 290, paragraph 5 from the Convention”.
Last weekend, the ARA Libertad’s crew showed their guns when Ghanaian officials tried to board the boat. Since then, diplomats from both countries have been talking, so we’ll see what happens.
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