Argentina sacks Navy Chief over detained ship in Ghana

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez has fired the country’s Navy Chief of Staff Carlos Paz over the detention of an Argentine navy ship, Libertad, in Ghana, the government announced October 15, 2012.

The country’s presidential spokesperson, Alfredo Scoccimarro who made the announcement at a press conference said Carlos Paz will be replaced by a Vice Admiral named Daniel Martin, who is said to be a veteran of the 1982 war between Britain and Argentina over the disputed Falkland Islands.

Two other top naval officials were also forced to step down.

The presidential spokesman said the naval officials were responsible for making changes in the itinerary of the warship, and, in particular, making a visit to Ghana, the Xinhua news agency reported.

The Libertad was detained in Ghana a couple of weeks ago following a court order sought by NML Capital Ltd, a subsidiary of US hedge fund, Elliott Management, after the Latin American nation failed to pay its 2002 debt.

And on October 11, 2012, a Ghana court refused to free the Argentine warship. The judge that sat on the case said Argentina had waived immunity as part of its loan deal.

A high-powered Argentine delegation is expected to meet with Ghanaian authorities to discuss the possibilities of releasing the navy ship. The Argentine delegation is made up of deputy Ministers of Defence and Foreign Affairs, Alfredo Forti and Eduardo Zuain.

The Libertad was in Ghana to offer some navy training. The 103-meter-long sailing ship left Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires on June 2 and was carrying a reported total crew of 220, including 69 members of the Argentine Navy and 110 students.

By Ekow Quandzie

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