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Argentine navy chief resigns over Ghana debacle

The head of Argentina's navy has left his position. Although the government has given no official reason, the announcement follows an incident in Ghanaian waters, which has caused Buenos Aires embarrassment.

The commander of the Argentinian navy stepped down on Monday after one of the country's ships was seized in a Ghanaian port amid allegations of unpaid debt.

Admiral Carlos Alberto Paz left his post as head of Argentina's navy and was replaced by his deputy, Vice Admiral Daniel Alberto Martin, the Defense Ministry announced on Monday.

The development comes after an Argentinian training ship, the “Libertad”, was seized in Tema, a port in Ghana near the West African country's capital, Accra, on October 2.

Ghana alleges that it is retaining the ship pending repayment of debts owed by the Argentine government to a US hedge fund. NML Capital, part of the US hedge fund Elliott Associates, claims that Buenos Aires owes its 300 million dollars, and had issued a petition to Accra, requesting it hold up the vessel until that money is repaid.

Although Argentinian officials did not give a reason for Paz' departure from his post at the helm of the country's navy, the Argentinian defense ministry also suspended two officers over the decision to let the Libertad stay over in Accra while it was carrying 200 sailors.

Argentina suffered a huge sovereign debt default a decade ago amidst intense international economic crisis. It is now faced with several lawsuits in U.S. courts by bondholders who are pursuing state asset freezes to recover the capital they have lost through the Argentine government's defaulted bonds.

sej/kms (dpa, AFP, Reuters)