Crew of Argentine Ship Seized in Ghana Head Home

By MarEx 2012-10-25 15:13:32

Almost 300 crew member of an Argentine training ship seized in Ghana finally flew home on Wednesday after spending weeks dockside. Creditors seeking lost money on defaulted bonds detained their ship.

The ARA Libertad, Argentina’s military tall ship, was supposed to sail into the port of Buenos Aires in full glory after a goodwill tour proclaiming the South American country’s place in the world.

Instead, hundreds of sailors had to evacuate on orders from President Cristina Fernandez, after the ship was detained for a debt dispute by a Ghanaian judge.

The sailors arrived home early Thursday on an Air France charter. The Argentine government did not send one of its own planes, for fear that it, too, could be detained as collateral.

Since Fernandez refuses to negotiate with NML Capital Ltd., an investment fund demanding more than $300 million from the country to pay off bonds that went into default during the country’s economic crisis over a decade ago, it appears the Libertad may be stuck indefinitely in Ghana.

Those left behind may now have to face moving the ship to a less desirable place at Ghana’s Tema Port. Authorities have complained that it is blocking prime dock space and is causing costly delays.

NML Capital told the judge it would accept $20 million in exchange for allowing the ship to set sail. Argentina has yet to make any offerings.