The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
Argentine Sailors Draw Guns over Ship Dispute

The 113-meter-long ARA Libertad, “the pride of Argentina’s navy,” is still being held in a Ghana port by the Ghanian police on behalf of an American hedge fund that says it is owed $1.6 billion by the Argentinian government. Last Wednesday, when Ghanian port workers tried to move the boat with a crane, the Argentinian crew drew guns and threatened the workers if they did not leave the ship alone. The ship is causing a major traffic jam at the port.

“This is turning into an international disaster,” Asare Darko, a lawyer for the Ghana Ports and Harbors Authority, told the WSJ.

Jorge Argüello, Argentina’s ambassador to the U.S., tried to deflect attention away from the failure of his government to pay its bills to the “vulture funds” that are illegally holding the ship ransom: ”This is quite ironic. . . . If there is a continent of which vulture funds have most viciously taken advantage, that is Africa.”

As Business Insider reports: “Argentina has said there’s no way they’re going to pay Singer or any other of the “vulture funds” knocking on the door, so it’s taking the issue to Ghana.” Argentina is apparently going to sue Ghana at the UN in order to get the ship released.

What a ridiculous situation: humiliated, angry, deadbeat Argentina, trying to get its ship back. The poor economic policies of President Kirchner’s government are laid bare for the world to see.

Published on November 13, 2012 12:36 pm