Detention of Argentine Ship Cost $7.6 million

Ghana Ports and Habours Authority (GPHA) has lost $7.6 million as a result of the Argentine Fragata, ARA Libertad's occupation of its prime berth for a period of 76 days.

Officials have, meanwhile, indicated their intention to pursue Map Shipping Agency, agents for NML Capital Limited, a hedge fund group to recover $18,278 being rent charges for the 76 days that the Frigate spent at the Tema Habour.

The acting Director of the Tema Port, Mr Jacob Adorkor who diclosed this in an interview in Tema, said the GPHA would decide whether the $7.6 million should be waved as an opportunity cost or institute a legal action against the representatives of NML Capital to recover the loss revenue.

“Since the GPHA as an entity was not party in the matter, any economic loss by the authority as a result of the action taken by the creditors which sought to deprive GPHA of its revenue must be bourne by them”, Mr Adorkor said.

The Fragata Libertad, which was detained at the Tema Port on October 2, this year, at a point saw the crew members brandished weapons to stop port authorities from relocating it to a new berth in the wake of a court ruling secured by officials.

The seizure of the ship was at the behest of NML Capital Ltd, who are demanding full compensation from the Argentine government following the country’s financial default over a decade ago.

The detention at the time apart from depriving the GPHA of the needed revenue further created serious congestion at the port.

Officials of the GPHA, acting on a high court ruling of November 5, 2012, to relocate the vessel from berth 11, a commercial area to a safer site to make way for business space at the berth, had to abandon the exercise for fear of lives.

The crew which consequently removed the gangway, preventing officials from entering the vessel while brandishing guns threatened to shoot, should officials dare enter the vessel.

Mr Adorkor described the detention and the follow-up drama as unfortunate, since Ghana as a sole entity was not involved in the processes that lead to the detention.

The vessel with its remaining 43 member crew, has since departed for its native Argentina.