The Acting Director of Ports, at the Tema Ports Mr. Jacob Adokor has confirmed to Citi News
that the detained Argentine naval ship at the Tema Port has finally been released.
According to Mr. Jacob, “the vessel has sailed from the port according to the request of the agent. Normally, a vessel which comes into our port comes upon the request of an agent; so the agent requested that the vessel must sail, so it sailed.”
“Officially I am not aware whether there was a court order for the release of the vessel or not, however the agent should be the person to answer this question because they may have the opportunity of sighting a court order or not... since the agent called for the departure of the vessel I will only have to comply because it is upon request that the vessel is in port.”
Mr. Jacob further explained that the agent “informed us that there was a court order for the vessel not to sail, that was why the vessel had stayed in port. Now that the same agent has come [and] written a letter that we should release the vessel to sail, we had to. They are supposed to pay our bills and if we still continued to detain the vessel we will never have anybody to pay our bills.”
“We received only a short letter from them that they have instruction for the vessel to sail on Tuesday at 1500 hours and around 1500hrs the master of the vessel called our signal station and then indicated that they were ready to sail at 1500 hours. At 1500 hours the vessel sailed out of the port,” he said.
The seizure of the ship by the High Court arose from a dispute between Argentina and a private foreign company, NML Capital, and Ghana maintained throughout the dispute that "the Government (of Ghana) is not a party to that dispute."
NML capital sought to arrest the ship because it said Argentina owed it US$370 million in a bonds deal 10 years ago.
Argentina took Ghana to the Tribunal when the Ghana government said the executive could not flout the orders of the judiciary to release the ship.
The Tribunal said the ship should be released unconditionally and immediately and should be resupplied for its journey.
Argentina had argued that a war ship could not be seized since it enjoyed immunity, but the Accra High Court judge, Richard Adjei Frimpong, said Argentina waived its immunity in the agreement with the Cayman Island-based NML Capital Ltd.
Argentina flew in about 100 sailors on Wednesday morning to prepare the ship to sail.
By Evans Effah/Citifmonline.com/Ghana