- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating is associate editor at Foreign Policy and the editor of the Passport blog. He has worked as a researcher, editorial assistant, and deputy Web editor since joining the FP staff in 2007. In addition to being featured in Foreign Policy, his writing has been published by the Washington Post, Newsweek International, Radio Prague, the Center for Defense Information, and Romania's Adevarul newspaper. He has appeared as a commentator on CNN International, C-Span, ABC News, Al Jazeera, NPR, BBC radio, and others. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he studied comparative politics at Oberlin College.
A so-called "vulture fund" is now the proud owner of a 100-metre long tall ship. Quartz’s Tim Fernholz writes:
A subsidiary of Elliott Capital Management seized the Libertad in a Ghanian port on Sept. 2, after it gained an injunction from a local court to hold the ship and its 200 crew members there. The fund is attempting to collect money it lost when Argentina restructured its debt after a $100 billion default in 2001, cutting payouts down to 30 cents on the dollar. The boat is a 100-meter long tall sailing ship, built in the 1950s as a training vessel for the Argentine nation and currently on a graduation tour for Naval cadets. It is valued at about $10 to $15 million.
The Financial Times reports that the vessel is "a tall ship used by the Argentine Navy to train sailors and a former holder of the world speed record for a transatlantic crossing by sail, was on a graduation tour."
The Argentine foreign ministry alleges that the move “violates the Vienna Convention on diplomatic immunity" and that “Vulture funds have crossed a new limit in their attacks on the Argentine republic.”
Latin America has a history of military action over unpaid debts, but the seizure of a sovereign nation’s miltiary equipment by a private company seems like uncharted waters in international law. If I were captain in the Spanish navy, I might be careful where I dock from now on.