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Ghana court to rule on Argentine warship seizure Thursday

ACCRA (AFP) – A Ghana court will on Thursday decide whether to release one of Argentina’s warships detained in a port in the West African nation over a debt dispute, the judge in the case said.

Argentina on Tuesday argued before the Accra Commercial Court for the release of the frigate, saying the vessel with 200 crew seized after an October 2 order enjoyed diplomatic immunity. It had arrived in Ghana for a training mission.

“It is quite clear that ARS Libertad is a military ship and it is immune from attachment to any judgment in this country,” Larry Otu, the lawyer representing the Argentine government, told the court.

Ace Anan Ankomah, lawyer for NML Capital, which is suing the Argentina government, argued that Argentina had previously waived its immunity related to the debt dispute.

The frigate was seized under a court order by creditors suing Buenos Aires over its 2002 bond default, a move Argentina has called a violation of international law.

Between 2005 and 2010 Argentina refinanced and rescheduled its repayment of 93 percent of the almost $100 billion default it incurred in 2001.

Among the unsettled business were bonds held by speculative funds seeking to recoup their money through the courts.

Argentina also has more than $6.5 billion in debt with the Paris Club of government creditors.

Buenos Aires has said that Ghana’s seizure of the Libertad “is against the Vienna Convention on diplomatic immunity.”


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