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Ghana won't free Argentina warship

11 October 2012, 15:32

Accra - A judge in Ghana on Thursday rejected a bid by Argentina to have one of its warships released from a port near Accra, where it is being held under a court order linked to a debt dispute.

"No sufficient basis has been made by the applicant [Argentina] to set aside this court order. The motion is dismissed," said Judge Richard Adjei Frimpong of the Commercial Court in Accra.

The frigate Libertad was seized on 2 October under a court order linked to claims by creditors NML Capital, which are suing Buenos Aires over its 2002 bond default.

Lawyers acting for Argentina have argued that as a military vessel, the Libertad enjoyed immunity. The frigate with 200 crew arrived in Ghana for a training mission.

The court however ruled that Argentina waived immunity as part of the agreement it entered with NML capital.

Larry Otu, the lawyer representing the Argentine government, said the Libertad needed to refuel so that it can continue to run its power generators and the court asked the two sides to reach an accommodation in this and other logistical issues.

The next hearing date was not immediately set.

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

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

Buenos Aires has said that Ghana's seizure of the Libertad "is against the Vienna Convention on diplomatic immunity".



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