- Title: ARGENTINA: Hector Timerman says U.N. Tribunal's order supports Argentine request
- Date: 15th December 2012
- Summary: BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA (DECEMBER 15, 2012) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF GOVERNMENT PALACE 'LA CASA ROSADA' ARGENTINE FLAG BLOWING IN THE WIND ARGENTINE FOREIGN MINISTER HECTOR TIMERMAN AND ARGENTINE DEFENSE MINISTER ARTURO PURICELLI ENTERING ROOM FOR NEWS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) ARGENTINE FOREIGN MINISTER HECTOR TIMERMAN SAYING: "The frigate 'Libertad' has been freed. The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ordered by unanimous decision that the frigate be freed immediately just as the Republic of Argentina had requested. The execution of the Tribunal's order should be immediate and on December 22 the time expires in which both countries (Argentina and Ghana) communicate to the Tribunal that the decision has been carried out. The unconditional liberation means that the Republic of Argentina is not required to offer a fee, or guaranty of any sort. In addition, the Tribunal orders that the liberation include the Commander of the frigate and the crew as well as to resupply the vessel for it's departure. The decision by the Tribunal for the Law of the Sea of the United Nations completely supports the people and the government of Argentina in it's defense against illegal attacks of the 'vulture' funds." ARGENTINE DEFENSE MINISTER ARTURO PURICELLI SPEAKING AT PODIUM (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) ARGENTINE DEFENSE MINISTER ARTURO PURICELLI SAYING: "A charter flight has been hired to transfer the 98 marines in order to have the sufficient crew to cross the Atlantic Ocean. The crew will leave Ezeiza airport the 18th of this month, arriving in the Republic of Ghana on the 16th to then proceed to cast off on the frigate that same day." TIMERMAN AND PURICELLI LEAVING NEWS CONFERENCE
- Embargoed: 30th December 2012 12:00
- Location: Argentina
- Country: Argentina
- Topics: International Relations,Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA983MQ7LHG5KTHZVGW40R31S77
- Story Text: Argentina's Foreign Minister Hector Timerman said Saturday (December 15) the United Nations Tribunal for the Law of the Seas had done exactly what Argentina had requested when it ordered the release of an Argentine naval training ship detained in Ghana.
The ship, Argentine navy's tall sailing ship ARA Libertad, a training vessel, was held in Ghana's port of Tema on Oct. 2 after a court order obtained by NML Capital Ltd, which says Argentina owes it $300 million on bonds which have been in default since 2002.
International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea president judge Shunji Yanai of Japan said the court ruled Ghana should release the Libertad immediately and provide the assistance the crew needs to leave the port.
Argentina had argued the United Nations maritime convention gives warships including unarmed training vessels immunity from civil claims when calling in foreign ports.
Creditors including NML have won several billion dollars in damages over Argentina's bond default in U.S. courts, but they have largely been unable to collect because most Argentine assets are protected by sovereign immunity laws.
"The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ordered by unanimous decision that the frigate be freed immediately just as the Republic of Argentina had requested," Timerman said at a news conference after the ruling.
"The decision by the Tribunal for the Law of the Sea of the United Nations completely supports the people and the government of Argentina in it's defense against illegal attacks of the 'vulture' funds."
Argentina refers to funds like NML as "vulture funds" because they buy distressed or defaulted bonds and then sue in international courts to get paid in full.
Ghana's government said in a statement it would consider the tribunal's order, weighing its international obligations against the authority of Ghana's High Court, which had detained the ship.
"The Government of Ghana will carefully consider the Tribunal's Order with a view to ensuring that it is given effect, having regard to the requirements of the Constitution and the country's international obligations."
A skeleton crew of sailors remains on board the Libertad after around 300 crew and naval cadets were flown home to Argentina in October.
"A charter flight has been hired to transfer the 98 marines in order to have the sufficient crew to cross the Atlantic Ocean," said Argentina's Defense Minister Arturo Puricelli.
The court considered a statement from Argentina that attempts by authorities in Ghana to move the ship "could lead to an escalation" which could lead to "incidents which could endanger life," Yanai said.
The court also considered Argentina's claim that the ship could not be maintained correctly during its arrest and that the vessel' safety could so be endangered.
The two countries must provide a further report to the court by Dec. 22, 2012, and if further measures would be considered if the ship has not been released by this date, Tribunal Judge Ruediger Wolfrum told Reuters.
Both countries must pay their own costs.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2012. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None