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Argentine orders the evacuation of Libertad ship by Ghanaian authorities.
The navy training ship seized by the Ghanaian authorities earlier this month has received orders to evacuate the over 300 sailors on board. The ship has been in the possession of Ghanaian authorities since October 2 due to the Argentine’s debts.
Creditors say they will not release the ship until Argentine repays money they owe to them from a default in 2001. The three-masted tall ship was detained in the Ghanaian port of Tema on 2 October under a court order obtained by NML Capital. Sailors from Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and South Africa have been reported to be on board. The firm says Argentina owes it more than $300m (£186m) and it will only release the ship if the country pays it at least $20m.NML Capital, a subsidiary of US hedge fund Elliot Capital Management, is one of Argentina’s former creditors. Argentina defaulted on more than $100bn (£62bn) of debt in 2001 and 2002, being one of the biggest default in history. Most of these loans were restructured in 2005 and 2010, giving creditors about 30% of their money back. However, some creditors including Elliot chose to hold out, pursuing the Argentine government through the courts to recover the full amount.
Argentina says the crew’s rights have been violated after a Ghanaian judge refused to allow the refueling of the ship to maintain the power supply. President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s government has demanded the ship’s release, saying it cannot legally be held by creditors because of its military nature. Argentina’s foreign ministry said it is not clear how the rest will leave Ghana but the captain and some crew will stay on board. Last week, Argentina replaced navy chief Carlos Alberto Paz and suspended two other senior naval officials over the dispute. The government is holding an inquiry into who was responsible for allowing the Libertad to stop in Ghana.