Contacts with Ghana navy help restore water and power supply to ARA Libertad
Ghana port authorities, GPHA, on Wednesday re-established water and power supply to the Argentine Navy flagship ARA Libertad retained in Tema, according to naval sources from Buenos Aires.
“A maritime agent was authorized into the port to formalize the provision of water and the mounting of an electric generator next to the vessel in pier 11”, said Argentine sources putting an end to a week of frictions when the previous Wednesday Ghana port authorities tried to relocate the vessel to pier 6 and Argentine crew members lifted the plank and showed their rifles.
Following the incident GPHA officials said that the vessel would only be supplied once she is relocated in pier 6, according to a court order. In a congested port the frigate was occupying much needed space for merchant vessels.
However in practical terms the Argentine frigate never was exposed to a lack of water or power because it has sufficient reverses in its tanks as well as its own generators.
Apparently the reestablishment of the services was agreed following a camaraderie lunch between Captain Pablo Salonio and peers from the Ghana navy.
At the meeting “the good ‘tuning’ and corps spirit” according to Argentine sources enabled to unlock the situation.
Last Monday Argentine Defence minister Arturo Puricelli had advanced that the ‘camaraderie event’ was crucial for the return to a ‘spirit of peace’ given the previous week show of force.
He also revealed that following last Wednesday incident ‘contacts’ were established with Ghana Minister of Defence, Joseph Henry Smith requesting “he mediate before the Foreign ministry to suspend the actions initiated by GPHA officials in the port of Tema”.
The next steps to follow were addressed by President Cristina Fernandez at a meeting with Timerman, Puricelli and her closest aides Tuesday evening to decide on the Hamburg presentation. But nothing was said about sending a second crew to relieve those on duty in Ghana.
Likewise Buenos Aires reports also indicate that Brazil is called to play, or is already playing an important role in direct negotiations with Accra given the influence of that country in Africa with 35 embassies.
Brazilian Deputy Foreign minister Ruy Nogueira is currently in Buenos Aires for talks on trade and to discuss the frigate issue. From the very day, 2 October, when the vessel was impounded the Argentine ambassador in Nigeria and concurrent in Ghana Susana Pataro has been operating from the Brazilian embassy in Accra with all their logistics support.
“We are going to do our utmost because we are talking of two countries with which Brazil has close friendship links and we don’t want them to distance”, said a Brazilian diplomat quoted in the Buenos Aires media. Besides, Cristina Fernandez and Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff are scheduled to meet in Buenos Aires at the end of the month during the annual event of the Argentine Industrial Union.
Finally the Argentine navy in the event of the release of the vessel has yet to decide the course: directly to the home port of Puerto Belgrano or make intermediate calls in Cape Town, South Africa, Rio do Janeiro and Montevideo. All depends on bunkering.