Another battle against vulture funds was won this week when the Argentine naval vessel, the Libertad Frigate, arrived home to the Navy base in Mar del Plata City.[i] This comes after the vessel was detained in Ghana for over two months by a court order won by vulture fund NLM Capital. The vessel began the long journey home in December when a panel of four judges at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea unanimously ruled that Ghana must release the ship.[ii] In the ruling, the tribunal declared that a war ship is immune from seizure.[iii] Argentina President Kirchner is not taking any chances, though, as it is rumored that she has rented a British plane for her upcoming trip to Asia instead of using the official Tango 01 plane in hopes of avoiding another court-ordered seizure of government property.[iv]
While the triumphant return of the Libertad and the jubilant celebrations in Argentina are a welcomed sight, the fact that the ship was detained for over two months points to the need for a change in the international debt system. Vulture funds should not be allowed to prey on low and middle income countries as they work to build prosperous economies and a government that can provide for its people. While a victory was won this week, there are more battles to be fought to ensure that billionaires can no longer profit off of the poorest and most vulnerable.
[i] Ed Stocker, “Argentina welcomes home ship held in Ghana by US ‘vulture fund’,” The Independent, January 9, 2013. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/argentina-welcomes-home-ship-held-in-ghana-by-us-vulture-fund-8445151.html
[ii] Liz Ford, “Maritime tribunal orders Ghana to set Argentina’s Libertad frigate free,” The Guardian, December 17, 2012. http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2012/dec/17/maritime-tribunal-ghana-argentina-libertad
[iii] International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, Argentina v. Ghana, December 15, 2012. http://www.itlos.org/fileadmin/itlos/documents/cases/case_no.20/C20_Order_15_12_2012.pdf
[iv] Ed Stocker, “Argentina welcomes home ship held in Ghana by US ‘vulture fund’,” The Independent, January 9, 2013. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/argentina-welcomes-home-ship-held-in-ghana-by-us-vulture-fund-8445151.html