Ghana says sailors on seized Argentine ship free to leave

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 21, 2012 6:06 PM
Ghana says sailors on seized Argentine ship free to leave

ACCRA (Reuters) - The crew of an Argentine naval training vessel impounded in Ghana by a firm seeking to claw back $300 million in defaulted bonds are free to leave the country, a government official said on Sunday.

The ARA Libertad and its crew have been detained in Ghana's port of Tema since October 2 by a court order obtained by NML Capital Ltd in a dispute which has strained relations between the west African country and Argentina.

"They are free to leave after going through the standard immigration process," a senior government official told Reuters, asking not to be named.

NML, an affiliate of investment firm Elliott Management, said it would only release the ship if Argentina pays it at least $20 million.

Argentina defaulted on debt a decade ago and faces a raft of lawsuits in U.S. courts by so-called holdout bondholders.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez on Saturday ordered 326 sailors on the detained ship to evacuate - leaving just the captain and a core crew - claiming their human rights were violated because a judge had prohibited fuel deliveries required to run plumbing and emergency equipment.

(Reporting by Kwasi Kpodo; Editing by Richard Valdmanis and Jason Webb)


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