Crew prevents Ghana from moving ship

2012-11-11 19:12
The Argentine tall ship Libertad. (File)

The Argentine tall ship Libertad. (File)

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Accra - Sailors aboard an Argentina navy sailing ship seized in a billion-dollar international debt controversy brandished weapons to block Ghanaian officials from moving the vessel to a less busy dock, an official of the Ghana ports and harbours authority said on Saturday.

Crew on the ARA Libertad showed their rifles to deter Ghanaian officials from boarding the South American ship on Thursday, Kumi Adjei-Sam, the corporate affairs manager of the ports authority, told The Associated Press.

Ghana's government has not commented on the show of force against officials of this African nation.

Ghanaian judge Richard Agyei-Frimpong ruled last week that the Libertad should be moved from its current position while Argentina fights a court order to hold the ship against payment of $1.3bn to a group holding bonds on which Argentina defaulted in 2002.

Ports officials say the ship's current location prevents other vessels from berthing, costing the agency tens of thousands of dollars a day in lost fees.

Argentina's defence ministry issued a statement on Friday saying the ship will not budge while the detention order is being appealed.

It said the ship's crew, under orders from Buenos Aires, pulled up the gangplank to prevent Ghanaian authorities from boarding. In response, Ghana shut off water and electricity and brought a crane to lift officials onto the ship to move it.

"An order was for the crew to show up on the deck, with its regular weapons, with the purpose of dissuading any attempt to board it," the Argentine ministry said.

The ministry said the Ghanaians should stop "illegal measures such as forcing us to move and cutting off basic supplies, which represent a violation on our sovereignty and an act of hostility".

Ghanaian courts ordered the ship detained on 2 October in response to US court decisions in favour of investors holding bonds on which Argentina defaulted.

President Cristina Fernandez insists Argentina will not pay a single centavo to what she calls "vulture funds".


- SAPA
Read more on:    argentina  |  ghana  |  west africa
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