Since defaulting on its debt in 2001, Argentina has been locked in a decade-long battle with international investors. Tensions between the country and institutional bondholders reached new highs on October 2, when the Ghanaian government seized the Argentine tall ship ARA Libertad. The ship was prevented from leaving the port of Tema after a Ghanian court upheld a court order at the request of Argentina's creditors, led by US hedge fund Elliot Associates, who are suing Buenos Aires over its 2002 bond default. NML Capital, a firm affiliated with Elliot Associates, is currently trying to recoup $1.3 billion of debt from Argentina through the US legal system in New York. The fund was created by Paul Singer, a strong backer of the US Republican Party and former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. According to The Guardian, Singer's money-making strategy involves 'buying distressed debt cheaply and selling it at a profit or suing for full payment'. Such speculative financial and profitable operations are performed by hedge or financial funds known as 'vulture funds', which obtain their name because they hover like vultures over the remains of moribund companies or debtor states like Liberia, Peru and Argentina. As such, these funds operate in a highly opportunistic and exploitative manner.