UN court to start Argentina ship case against Ghana on Nov 29


The United Nations’ maritime court in Hamburg said it will hold hearings on Nov. 29-30 into Argentina’s demands that Ghana free an Argentine naval ship stranded in the African country due to a court order brought by bondholders.

The ARA Libertad tall sailing ship, a naval training vessel, was detained in Ghana’s eastern port of Tema on Oct. 2 at the request of hedge fund NML Capital Ltd, which says Argentina owes it $300 million on bonds in default.

The United Nations’ International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea said urgent hearings would be held in Hamburg on Nov. 29-30 into Argentina’s formal complaint filed on Nov. 14.

A rapid decision was expected but it is not known when the court will make its judgement, a tribunal spokeswoman said, Reuters reports.

Argentina says international law prohibits warships from being seized in foreign ports and has asked the court to intervene.

Creditors including NML have won several billion dollars in damages in U.S. courts over Argentina’s default, but they have largely been unable to collect because most Argentine assets are protected by sovereign immunity laws.

The Argentine government refers to funds like NML as “vulture funds” because they buy distressed or defaulted debt and then sue in international courts to get paid in full.