Paraguay protests to Argentina for retention of barges


Mercurio Group reported that vessels transporting fuel were detained by the Argentine Naval Prefecture.

The Foreign Minister of Paraguay , Rubén Ramírez, expressed this Thursday (09/07/2023) his country’s protest before the Government of Argentina for the “irregular” retention of a convoy of ten barges in a section of the Paraguay- Paraná waterway where a toll installed by the neighboring country.

In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Ramírez summoned the Argentine ambassador in Asunción, Óscar Domingo Peppo, after the company Mercurio Group SA announced that vessels transporting fuel were detained by the Argentine Naval Prefecture when they were ready. to set sail for the country.

“The chancellor expressed Paraguay’s discomfort with the situation and confirmed that the toll collection clearly violates international agreements and insisted that all necessary actions will be taken to reverse this situation,” the note stated. In addition, the head of Foreign Affairs pointed out that Paraguay “analyzes other actions.”

The shipping company Mercurio Group SA reported this Thursday in a statement that it received on September 6 from the Argentine Naval Prefecture a “notification of embargo and prohibition of sailing on the barge MGT-05.” The vessel is part of a convoy of barges that “is operating in the jurisdiction of Zárate, province of Buenos Aires,” he added.

The measure was issued as part of the “claim for payment for an invoice” of $27,031 (25,271 euros), “corresponding to the toll of the Santa Fe – Confluencia section,” according to the company.

In this context, the Paraguayan Foreign Ministry indicated that the determination “was made even ignoring judicial provisions that indicated that the convoy could not be detained.” The statement from the Foreign Office detailed that the Argentine ambassador assured that he will communicate the Paraguayan claim to his Government.

On the other hand, the Foreign Ministry announced that it will ask Brazil, the country that holds the pro tempore presidency of the Intergovernmental Waterway Committee , to “urgently” advance the extraordinary meeting of that body that ensures the functioning of the waterway in the first half of September. of that river artery.

The meeting, initially scheduled for the end of this month, is attended by Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Uruguay and Paraguay, which signed the Waterway River Transport Agreement in June 1992.

Paraguay has declared itself against the collection of tolls on the Argentine section of the waterway. Through this river corridor, Paraguay – which has no access to the sea – moves a large part of its cargo.

The toll unleashed a couple of weeks ago a exchange of statements between officials from Paraguay and Argentina after the visit they made on August 24 to the Paraguayan president, Santiago Peña, the Argentine ministers of Economy, Sergio Massa, and Transportation, Diego Alberto Giuliano , in which that rate was a topic of conversation.

Source: DW