• Germany's news in English
 

Hamburg ruling fails to solve Argentine dispute

Published: 16 Dec 2012 10:02 GMT+01:00

The Libertad - a three-masted sailing vessel - has been docked at the port of Tema east of Accra since October 2, under a Ghanaian court order requested by NML Capital, a Cayman Islands investment firm that says Argentina owes it $370 million.

On Saturday, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea asked "the Ghana authorities to immediately free the Libertad frigate and arrange for her to leave Tema", tribunal head Shunji Yanai said.

Ghana's Deputy Attorney General Ebo Barton-Odro declined to comment until he had reviewed a report from government representatives at the tribunal, and he did not say if Accra intended to honour the request to release the ship.

Though Argentina rescheduled and refinanced much of its debt following an economic crisis and massive default a decade ago, bonds held by speculative funds such as NML are among its unsettled business.

Government officials in Argentina, as well as ruling and opposition party politicians, welcomed the tribunal ruling.

"Argentina will continue to defend itself from financial pirates. Vultures will not prevail," Economy Minister Hernan Lorenzino wrote on his Twitter account.

The government of President Cristina Kirchner contends that Ghana "violated the norms of international law that confer immunity on ships of war."

The Argentine navy uses the Libertad as a training ship.

The captain and a 44-member skeleton crew remain aboard the ship, while 280 other crew members returned to Argentina in late October.

Yanai read out the decision of the 20 judges who attended the hearings of November 29-30.

Ghana had asked for Argentina's complaint to be dismissed and for Buenos Aires to pay the tribunal costs, arguing the court was not competent because the matter is a private trade dispute.

According to Accra, the crew was not at risk and the inconvenience for Argentina was minor.

"Ghana asks that the Argentinian demand be rejected ... It would not be the first time that your tribunal dismisses preventative measures," said Ebenezer Appreku, legal advisor in the Ghanaian foreign ministry.

In Accra on Saturday, there was no indication the sailors on board the Libertad were following developments in the Hamburg court.

A few were seen milling around on the ship, refuelling their generator and receiving a food delivery. There was no discernible reaction to the ruling in Argentina's favour.

The standoff over the Libertad heated up in early November when the ship's crew brandished guns to stop Ghanaian port authorities from relocating it to a new berth.

Tema Port officials had tried to move the ship over a court order to clear space for commercial activity, but the sailors' resistance forced officials to scrap the plan.

Lawyers acting for Buenos Aires argued that moving the Libertad could prove dangerous as the vessel lacked manpower after more than 280 crew members were evacuated in October.

Argentina also argues that Ghana is barred from boarding the ship under international maritime law and that the ship is protected by immunity under a 1982 UN convention.

AFP/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Ethiopia's Legese wins Berlin half marathon
Ethiopia's Legese (R) crosses the finish line just ahead of Kenya's Kogei. Photo: APF

Ethiopia's Legese wins Berlin half marathon

Ethiopia's Birhanu Legese won the Berlin half marathon on Sunday as African runners dominated the top ten finishers in the men's race. READ  

Spectator killed in Nürburgring crash
A section of the Nürburgring's north circuit

Spectator killed in Nürburgring crash

A man has been killed and several others injured in an accident at Germany's Nürburgring racetrack. READ  

Alps Plane Crash
Germany to hold April service for crash victims
Photo: DPA

Germany to hold April service for crash victims

Germany will hold a national memorial ceremony and service on April 17 for victims of the Germanwings flight that crashed in the French Alps, killing all 150 aboard, regional authorities said on Saturday. READ  

Scientists aiming to redefine the kilogram
The world's roundest sphere. Photo: DPA

Scientists aiming to redefine the kilogram

The German Nation Metrology Institute (PTB) in Braunschweig has set itself the enormous task of finding a new formula for measuring a kilogram. READ  

Alps Plane Crash
Germanwings co-pilot 'hid illness' on crash day
Photo: DPA

Germanwings co-pilot 'hid illness' on crash day

Germanwings said on Friday that it had no knowledge of a doctor-signed sick note found by investigators at flight 4U9525 co-pilot Andreas Lubitz's flat. READ  

Varoufakis quells rumours of resignation
Yanis Varoufakis. Photo: DPA

Varoufakis quells rumours of resignation

Update: After German tabloid Bild reported that Germany's least-favourite Greek minister Yanis Varoufakis was considering resigning, the minister rejected the story on Twitter. READ  

Germany to expand disability rights
Photo: DPA

Germany to expand disability rights

A representative of the German Labour Ministry went before a UN Committee on Friday to discuss the government's plan for improved rights for disabled people. READ  

Alps Plane Crash
Germanwings captain's compassion goes viral
Photo: DPA

Germanwings captain's compassion goes viral

A Facebook post describing how a Germanwings pilot personally reassured his passengers of their safety on a flight on Wednesday has received over quarter of a million likes. READ  

Bundestag passes 'foreigner toll' for roads
Photo: DPA

Bundestag passes 'foreigner toll' for roads

The Bundestag (German parliament) passed a hugely controversial law on Friday which will charge foreigners for the use of German roads. READ  

Alps Plane Crash
Airlines agree two-person cockpit rule
Photo: DPA

Airlines agree two-person cockpit rule

The Federation of the German Air Travel Industry (BDL) confirmed on Friday afternoon that from now on two people must be in the cockpit at all times, in a bid to avoid a repeat of the Germanwings disaster. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Can the 'nightmare' of a pilot downing a plane be prevented?
National
LIVE: Co-pilot suspected of crashing plane
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
National
Last-minute drama of Germany's Eurovision 2015 entry
National
German photographer takes world's top prize
Features
Meet the woman getting Germans to drink more – and better – beer
Gallery
Get inspired for International Women's Day with German heroes
Sponsored Article
Expert US tax preparation for Americans in Germany
Green party proposes first-ever cannabis legalization plan
Gallery
In pictures: Germany's seven most livable cities
National
Singapore canes Germans for train graffiti
Politics
Surprise! Germans love feeling like they run the EU
Politics
Anger over plan to show women what men earn
Travel
Munich tram fans bicker over new bell
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
Photo: Police
Rhineland
Student driver crashes tank into family garden.
Photo: DPA
Politics
There was a notable absence at the Anti-Semitism Commission
National
How Dresden bombing still divides Germany, 70 years on
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Take a cute break with this gallery of baby animals
International
What's keeping UK expats from voting?
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
All you ever needed to know about Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

7,127
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd