May 21, 2013
Ghana to cut water, power, fuel supply to Libertad frigate
The Ghana national government threatened to cut off supplies to the ARA Libertad frigate after crewmembers prevented Ghanaian port authorities from boarding and moving the detained ship to another port. The government will today present a “failure to comply” court order to the Ghanaian justice system.
Tema port spokesman Law-rence Atumbine declared “this Monday (today), we plan to cut off the water, electricity and gas.”
The Ghanaian authorities were annoyed after Argentine crewmembers threatened Ghanaian officials who tried to board the ship last Wednesday.
The port’s Internal Director, Jacob Kwabla Adorkor, said that when the authorities had first arrived, the Argentine crewmembers aimed a water-pressure hose at them and they retreated slightly.
However, when authorities tried to board the ship through other access points, “the sailors pointed firearms at us and were getting ready to shoot.”
Argentine Defence Minister Arturo Puricelli reported in a press release on Friday night that “the Ghanaian authorities tried to board and remove the sailors by force, without judicial authorization,” and that armed Argentine sailors prevented the Ghanaian authorities from boarding the ship on Wednesday.
However, the ministry assured that the crew situation was “absolutely calm”.
It was also reported yesterday that the government was investigating whether to replace the 44 crew members onboard. A total of 280 crew members were evacuated from the frigate and arrived in Argentina on October 25, leaving behind 44 sailors and the captain to guard and maintain the ship.
The Libertad frigate has been detained in Port Tema since October 2, due to a lawsuit presented by investment fund NML Capital. NML Capital is based in the Cayman islands, and holds 370 million dollars worth of unpaid bonds, on which Argentina defaulted in 2001. The holdouts of these bonds refused to enter the two bond-swaps offered by Argentina in 2005 and 2010, a deal entered by 93 percent of bondholders.
The Argentine government has refused to pay the US$20 million requested by the investment fund in order to liberate the ship, and accuses the sequestration to be illegal under international law.