[credit provider=”Wikimedia Commons” url=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Q2ARALibertad.jpg”]
Ghana lost $7.6 million dollars in revenue while Argentina’s naval vessel, the ARA Libertad, took up prime real estate in Tema Port. Now, MercoPress reports the country may seek retribution from the person who kept the boat there, hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer.Singer has been in a spat with Argentina for a number of years. He and other hedge fund managers have banded together to sue the country for $1.3 billion in unpaid sovereign debt dating back to 2001. Argentina has the money, but it refuses to pay the bondholders because they did not restructure their debt in 2005 and 2010 like other bondholders.
According to Argentine politicians, that makes Singer a “vulture” fund manager.
That’s why, on October 2nd, Singer got a Ghanaian Court order to detain an Argentine naval vessel called the ARA Libertad. It was docked in Ghana’s Tema Port and Singer wanted it to stay there as collateral.
Aboard the ARA Libertad, the officers wouldn’t budge. Ghanaian officials asked them to move the boat to a lighter traffic part of the port. The Argentine’s refused, and when Ghanaian authorities tried to move the boat, they showed their guns.
Meanwhile, Argentina’s lawyers slogged it out in the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and eventually won back the ship. The ARA Libertad is due back home on January 9th, 2013.
All that means is that someone has to pay the tab for the expensive real estate that the vessel occupied for over two months.
The acting Director of the Tema Port, Jacob Adorkor who disclosed this in an interview in Tema, said the GPHA would decide whether the 7.6 million should be waved as an opportunity cost or institute a legal action against the representatives of NML Capital to recover the loss revenue.
“Since the GPHA as an entity was not party in the matter, any economic loss by the Authority as a result of the action taken by the creditors which sought to deprive GPHA of its revenue must be borne by them”, Adorkor said.
In retrospect, Singer may have learned an important lesson here — piracy doesn’t pay.