- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy
Most of the crew of the Argentina navy ship Libertad has returned home, leaving behind their a skeleton crew to man the three-masted sailing ship in Ghana. The Libertad was prevented from leaving Ghana have a local court ruled in favor of the U.S. "vulture fund" NML Capital, which says it is owed $370 million by the Argentine government from its default a decade ago.
Argentina is angrily contesting the seizure at the United Nations. Speaking today, Foreign Minister Hector Timerman vowed to reclaim the ship, and also made clear that this is not an isolated incident:
“Until the case of the frigate ARA Libertad, the vulture funds managed to impound 28 assets from the Argentine state”, said Timerman, but in all those cases Argentina managed to recover the disputed assets.
Timerman also announced that the government has decided to litigate in international courts the release of the frigate retained in the port of Tema. Three options are under consideration according to diplomatic sources: the Law of the Sea international tribunal; the International Court of Justice in The Hague or arbitration.
After reading the list of impounded assets (and recovered), Timerman pledged that “we are going to recover ARA Libertad as we recovered all of the other government assets”.
Those nearly-seized assets include the president’ private jet, a communications satellite, the U.S. ambassador’s residence, and embassies in France and Germany. Funds have also attempted to seize Argentine national bank assets desposited in New York.
In another recent development, an Argentine navy corvette has been forced to dock in South Africa due to mechanical difficulties. The embassy is reportedly preparing a legal defense in case NML tries anything.