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The Arctic Sea, originally called Okhotsk when built in 1991, is owned by Latvian-based Aquachart SIA and operated by Russian firm Solchart Arkhangelsk.
Russia Today also on ATS, same source
“It has been unveiled that the timber belongs to the biggest European paper manufacturer, Stora Enso Oyj,” Voytenko told Interfax.
However, the company maintains that they were not the only ones whose cargo the “Arctic Sea” was carrying. Voytenko stated that a cargo of timber was unlikely to have been the cause for the ship’s disappearance.
“It was either a secret or a counterfeited shipment,” he said.
The company whose cargo the ship was officially carrying also confirmed that something else might have been at stake.
“We are not the only company whose cargo was on board,” a spokesman for Stora Enso Oyj told Interfax.
Hijackers, not necessarily pirates, have probably seized the ship “Arctic Sea” because of its valuable and extremely dangerous cargo, according to the editor of Mikhail Voitenko, the Russian Maritime Bulletin.
Originally posted by Hellmutt
It has been confirmed that the Arctic Sea had a secret cargo.,It's not official what the secret cargo is, but it's apparently "valuable and extremely dangerous".
While the search is going on in the Atlantic for the missing “Arctic Sea” ship with a Russian crew onboard, speculations are raging in the media over if and why the vessel could be seized by pirates.
On Wednesday Interpol has passed the shocking information to all its member states that the “Arctic Sea” was seized by pirates, according to Itar-Tass news agency’s London department – though the Russian Central Interpol Bureau says they haven’t received any information concerning the possible seizure of the “Arctic Sea” from the General Secretariat of Interpol, according to the Russian department of Itar-Tass.
They add that, according to a pilot of a Portuguese coastal patrol aircraft, he saw the “Arctic Sea” on August 2 while patrolling the Atlantic in latitude of the city of Porto.
After that all traces of the ship disappear, as there are “no indications that it would have passed Gibraltar”, a Spanish coastguard official told the Independent.
The “Arctic Sea”, a Maltese-registered vessel heading to Algeria with a cargo of timber, was last recorded on the AIS Live ship tracking system off the coast of Brest, northern France, at 1.29am on July 30. At that moment the ship was in the western part of the Bay of Biscay.
The ship was due to arrive in the Algerian port of Bejaia on August 4 – which it never did.
An incident which recently happened to the ship in the Baltic Sea has aroused the suspicion that the ship has been hijacked.
On July 24, masked men claiming to be police stopped the “Arctic Sea”, tied up the crew and searched the vessel.
According to the “Arctic Sea” crew’s report, after the 12-hour ordeal, the masked men left and the ship resumed its voyage – which is now doubted.
The British coastguards who were the last to have communicated with the ship on radio, on July 29 as the “Arctic Sea” passed along the English Channel, now suggest that the person speaking to them was “either a hijacker or a member of the crew with a gun pointed at his head”, the Independent says.
“We heard from this ship, not knowing it had been hijacked, on 29 July at 5.30 in the morning [local time]. They said they had 15 crew on board and they were going from Jacobstad [in Finland] to Bejaia,” Mark Clark of the UK's Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said.
“It wasn't until later that we had a report from the Zeebrugge [Belgian] police to say it had been hijacked off the coast of Sweden. The contact we had suggested everything was OK on the ship but we don't know if we were talking to a hijacker or a genuine crew member with a gun at his head,” Mark Clark added.
No distress signal has been passed by the ship since then, and the crew are believed to have twice made contact later – with investigators in Stockholm on July 31 and with Russia’s Archangelsk, where the relatives of the crew live and the ship’s operator is located, on August 1, Russian Vesti TV channel says.
Mikhail Voytenko, editor-in-chief of the Russian maritime bulletin Sovfrakht, believes it was a well-organized seizure and says, “A worldwide search for the ship must urgently be organized,” as cited by Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper.
“There are three possibilities of what could have happened to the ship. The first one, Lord forbid, is that the vessel has been already sent to the bottom after the [secret] cargo was taken off it – the cargo because of which everything started. What that cargo has been – we don’t know and I’m afraid will never know now. The second possibility is that the ship is sailing somewhere at the moment with its crew staring down gun-barrels – somewhere it will be unloaded. And the third is that the cargo was reloaded to another ship right there at sea and the “Arctic Sea” ship was abandoned. So now it could be adrift with the crew locked inside and in urgent need of help,” Voytenko said.
”The only thing that could be done in this situation is urgently to start a wide-scale search operation while it is not too late. Not just three or four Russian warships – that is not enough,” Voytenko added. “We need to engage rescuers from other countries and comb the Atlantic, also using the satellite data and long-range airplanes. That is the only chance to save people if they are still alive.”
However, Mikhail Voytenko still rules out piracy, saying he has not seen anything like this hijacking before.
“It’s a mystery and I think it may stay a mystery as long as we live, just because it doesn’t look like anything that a lot of people and media [outlets] are speculating about. I believe this is quite a unique case – not something we will meet later on. But, I say, the piracy, commercial disputes and any criminal activity are out of question. They wouldn’t have been able to hijack a vessel in European waters – it is technically impossible,” Voytenko said.
Meanwhile, journalist Natalia Gracheva – the last person to interview the “Arctic Sea” crew – believes its disappearance was down to a carefully-planned criminal attack.
“It is definitely a criminal act performed for gain. They might now want either to sell the cargo or demand money for the release of the crew or the cargo,” Gracheva says. “It is most probably a continuation of the attack that took place in Sweden. It’s very doubtful that after 12 hours the crew was freed and the attackers left the vessel. It is possible that the offenders never left the ship. The versions about a random attack on a vulnerable vessel should be dismissed. It seems the attackers knew the ship well and were hunting for it specifically. It's also impossible that the ship would sink – we would see piles of timber. And if there was an explosion, it would have been recorded. The ship is thought to be heading to Africa now, since it will be easier for the hijackers to sell the cargo in countries with weaker controls.”
Both the relatives of the crew and the Finnish owner of the ship have asked the Russian authorities to help trace the missing vessel, and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov to do everything possible to find the ship.
“The Russian Defense Ministry has instructed the Russian Navy to search for the “Arctic Sea” vessel in the presumed area of its location. The Navy intends to cooperate with the Russian Foreign Ministry, Emergency Ministry and the ship owners, as well as with the relevant international organizations. The Russian Navy ships located in the Atlantic and all possible tracking systems, including space, are involved as well,” the Defense Minister’s press secretary Aleksey Kuznetsov told RT.
Five Russian Black Sea Fleet warships have set out for the search. The guided missile frigate Ladny was leading the fleet as they passed the Strait of Gibraltar and into the Atlantic Ocean early on Thursday.
Also, a large-scale international search operation is going on in the Atlantic, with its headquarters in Malta.
Originally posted by Common Sense says...
end of story.
Originally posted by Marrr
This is extremely weird. Seems laughable to me that police would attempt boarding a seafaring vessel in a rubber dingy.
The border troops trained to chase ships that intrude Russian territorial waters, use aviation to stop it and to dismount FSB commando units onboard of the detained vessel with the help of helicopters. They also drilled how to search and save ships in distress.
Russian coast guards and Federal Security Service (FSB) air units have conducted a series of exercises in the Pacific, a spokesman said on Thursday.
He said the tactical exercise rehearsed actions to counter unlawful activities at sea, as well as search and rescue operations