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Enthusiastic welcome for seized Argentina ship
From: BBC          Published On: January 10, 2013, 07:39 GMT
 
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Enthusiastic welcome for seized Argentina ship

The Libertad


An Argentine naval ship which was detained in Ghana for more than two months has arrived back home.

The Libertad had been seized following legal action by an investment company trying to recover money still owed after Argentina's 2002 debt default.

Thousands of people lined the shore as it arrived in Mar del Plata, three weeks after a United Nations court ordered its release from Ghana.

President Cristina Fernandez called the Libertad's return "a victory".

She personally welcomed the ship and its crew home at a lavish ceremony including fireworks and a fly-past by Argentine air force planes.

She told the crowds assembled in the harbour that "we're going to keep on fighting because no one's going to get anything out of Argentina with extortion".

Escalating row

The lengthy diplomatic row over the Libertad began when the ship was prevented from leaving Ghana on 2 October 2012, after a local court ruled in favour of financial fund NML Capital.

The fund is a a subsidiary of US hedge fund Elliot Capital Management which is one of Argentina's former creditors.

The fund said it was owed $370m (Ł233m) by the Argentine government after the country defaulted on its debt in 2001 and 2002.

NML Capital was seeking $20m in return for the release of the Libertad.

The row escalated in November, when sailors on board the Libertad reportedly pulled guns on Ghanaian officials who tried to board the vessel to move it to another berth.

Last month, the UN Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ordered Ghana to release the ship, arguing that it had immunity because it was a military vessel.

The ship sailed shortly afterwards.


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