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Thread: Double Hijack of "Arctic Sea" (ongoing)

  1. #11

    Default

    The confused latest reports say: no pirates but a purposeful hijack of that specific ship - something a whole lot stranger....maybe...all too confusing now and everyone telling a different tale....stay tuned. Oh, yes, the hijackers were also Russians or from FSU.
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  2. #12

    Default

    The hijackers four Estonian, two Latvian and two Russian nationals had been in control of the vessel since boarding it in Swedish waters on 24 July, Serdyukov said, according to Russian news agencies.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009...ery-eight-held

    A highly plausible scenario then is that this was an inside job based on intelligence that the cargo was military in nature. Of course, we are unlikely ever to know whether that intelligence was accurate or not.
    "It means this War was never political at all, the politics was all theatre, all just to keep the people distracted...."
    "Proverbs for Paranoids 4: You hide, They seek."
    "They are in Love. Fuck the War."

    Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon

    "Ccollanan Pachacamac ricuy auccacunac yahuarniy hichascancuta."
    The last words of the last Inka, Tupac Amaru, led to the gallows by men of god & dogs of war

  3. Default

    From dpa:
    Valletta, Malta - The hijacked ship Arctic Sea never disappeared and its movements had "always been known" to a maritime security committee, the Malta Maritime Authority said Tuesday afternoon. The investigating authorities of Finland, Malta and Sweden chose not to disclose any sensitive information in order not to jeopardise the lives and safety of the persons on board and the integrity of the ship, the Maltese authority said in a statement. The Russian navy arrested eight men accused of hijacking the Maltese-registered freighter near Sweden and forcing the crew to sail to West Africa in what turned out to be a puzzling maritime mystery. The nationalities of the detained persons have been confirmed to be Estonian, Latvian and Russian. The Maltese authority said it would continue with a detailed investigation into the case and was in contact with the Russian authorities regarding the probe. "Malta as the flag state administration is also endeavouring to ensure that the ship is granted a safe berth to allow for the required investigations into the seaworthiness of the ship," it said.
    [highlighting added]
    I am not so much interested in the seaworthiness of the ship.
    I am interested in how the false and conflicting AIS signals from the Biscaya were produced, and of course, who were the men and for whom did they do exactly what?
    Carsten
    The most relevant literature regarding what happened since September 11, 2001 is George Orwell's "1984".

  4. Default Best information in German

    http://seefahrer.blog.de/

    He is the best source of information, in German.
    You might be able to googlish it.

    This is my last post before 13.9.2009. I might read PMs or emails from time to time.
    I certainly need a break to avoid Spontaneous Human Combustion.
    What a life, what a week.
    Peace. :knuddel:
    Carsten
    The most relevant literature regarding what happened since September 11, 2001 is George Orwell's "1984".

  5. #15

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    Ah, Carsten, we all know you're off to spend your $Billions.

    Have a good break, we'll be here and look for ward to your return :wavey:

    Thanks for the link. Thank goodness for Google translation.
    "I think it would be a good idea." Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx.

    "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963, replied Ms Rice Davies when the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her.

  6. #16

    Default Here is the 'latest'. I don't believe a word of it!

    Seems like this is akin to the Japanese caper with the U.S. Bonds....'they' no longer give us 'bread', only 'circus'!.....

    August 20, 2009
    Arctic Sea hijack suspects claim to be environmentalists

    Eleven members of the crew of the Maltese-flag cargo ship Arctic Sea have arrived in Moscow along with eight suspected hijackers. Four members of the crew, including the captain, have remained with the ship. The Arctic sea is reportedly still some 260 miles from the Cape Verde islands, where it was intercepted by the Russian frigate Ladny following its apparent hijacking on July 24.

    While the English-language RT TV channel covered the arrival of the detainees and crew members, coverage by Russia's Vesti TV of the detainees transfer from Cape Verde showed some of the suspects to have the heavy prison tattoos associated with Russian professional criminals.

    Vesti reported the detainees told the Russian military that they were environmentalist and scientists who had been captured by mistake.

    According to reports filed with the Finnish and Swedish police, the Arctic Sea was seized at gunpoint at 3 AM on July 24 in Swedish waters. The crew were beaten and tied up.

    The Vesti report says the detainees claim they were merely taking shelter from a storm and had requested fuel from the Arctic Sea. They say they were "friends" of the crew. Vesti comments that the crew members were still bearing the marks of that friendship--bruising from plastic handcuffs and in one case a broken arm--when they boarded the plane for Russia.

    Contact with the ship was lost off Portugal on July 28. Russia's Ambassador to NATO today told Echo Moskvy radio that NATO assistance significantly facilitated the search and rescue of the ship. Ambassador Rogozin said NATO started providing Russia with reliable and timely information on the Arctic Sea's whereabouts on August 12, which helped the Russian Navy to plan and coordinate the efforts in the rescue of the ship.
    ------------------------------------------------
    Moscow

    Published Date: 21 August 2009
    By Mike Eckel in Moscow
    RUSSIAN authorities questioned crew members from the Arctic Sea cargo ship after the seamen and eight alleged pirates were returned to Moscow yesterday, adding new details to the mystery of the ship's month-long odyssey.
    Three heavy-lift air force jets, reportedly carrying 11 crew members, the alleged hijackers and other investigators, arrived at a Moscow region military base after flying from Cape Verde, the West African island nation where a Russian frigate ADVERTISEMENT

    The saga of the Maltese-flagged freighter, which left Finland on 21 July carrying a load of timber to Algeria, has gripped much of Europe. The ship was found nearly two weeks after it was to have docked in Algeria, thousands of miles off course and long out of radio contact.

    Speculation on what was behind the freighter's diversion was heightened by the involvement of the Russian navy. It was unclear why three planes were needed to fly such a small group of people to Moscow, nor why Il-76s among Russia's largest planes were used.

    Federal investigators said in a statement that crew members told them that, while the Arctic Sea was in Swedish waters, the ship was boarded by eight men who wore uniforms that read "Police" on the back and who threatened the crew.

    The statement did not give more details about the seizure or say if the men left the ship 12 hours later as earlier had been reported.

    The Interfax news agency said the 11 crew members and hijackers were taken to Moscow's Lefortovo prison, run by the main KGB successor agency, the FSB.

    State-run Vesti-24 television showed footage of what it said were air force planes arriving at the Chkalovsky base near Moscow, and men believed to be the hijackers being escorted roughly by special forces troops.

    Earlier, men identified as Arctic Sea crew members told Vesti that the ship was seized in the Baltic Sea by gunmen. One unidentified man told Vesti that a crew member sent a text message saying the ship had been hijacked, but the hijackers then forced the captain at gunpoint to report that everything was normal on board.

    Russia has said four of the hijackers were citizens of Estonia, and the others were from Russia and Latvia.

    There were conflicting statements about the fate of the Arctic Sea and its 1.3 million cargo of timber. The Foreign Ministry said that the ship's captain and three remaining crew members had stayed behind to help return the ship to its owner.

    The Kremlin said the ship was en route to the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiisk, but federal investigators said it was drifting off Cape Verde.

    More than a week after the Arctic Sea's departure from Finland on 21 July, Swedish police said they had received a report that masked men had raided the ship in the Baltic Sea and beaten the crew before speeding off 12 hours later in an inflatable craft.

    The freighter gave no indication of any difficulties or change in its route during radio contact while passing through the English Channel on 28 July.

    Swedish authorities last had contact with the ship on 31 July in a brief telephone call with a person who identified himself as the captain, according to a police spokeswoman. "It was a very short phone call, it was cut off, but it seemed as if everything was normal," she said.

    The ship had been due to dock in Algeria on 4 August. Eight days later, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered the Defence Ministry to take "all necessary measures" to search for the ship raising suspicions the ship may have carried more than just timber.

    Yevgeny Limarev, a former Russian security agent who is now a French-based consultant on Russian affairs, said the Arctic Sea was probably at the centre of a struggle between competing businesses and Kremlin clans in Moscow, and the Kremlin was forced to intervene to prevent an international scandal.
    -------------------------------------
    Speculation has grown that the freighter was carrying undeclared or even contraband cargo, possibly weapons or drugs.

    Russia has said four of the detained hijackers were citizens of Estonia.

    Three Russian air force planes arrived at a military airport outside Moscow from the Cape Verde islands, Interfax and ITAR-Tass said.

    It was unclear why there were three planes and no other details were given.

    Russian Defense Ministry officials insisted that the hijackers of the Arctic Sea had demanded a ransom and threatened to blow up the Russian-crewed freighter if their demands were not met, state news agencies reported.

    Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov announced earlier that the Russian navy had reached the ship off West Africa on Monday and arrested eight suspected hijackers without a shot being fired.

    Another official added: 'Crew members confirm that a ransom demand was made by the hijackers and if their demands were not met the hijackers threatened to blow up the vessel.'


    The Russian warship carrying the crew and the suspected hijackers of the Arctic Sea arrived on the Cape Verdean island of Sal amid plans to fly the ship's crew back to Moscow


    Russian insurance company, Renaissance Insurance, said it received a ransom demand for $1.5million on August 3.

    Company vice president Vladimir Dushin said the call came from a man speaking English who said he was an intermediary for the hijackers.

    'He said if we informed the media or the authorities they would starting shooting the hostages and double the ransom,' Dushin said, adding that the man used a voice-changing technology to conceal his identity.



    Sighting: The ship had been transmitting signals from the Bay of Biscay


    'Of course, we didn't pay anything, and we gave all the information to the relevant authorities,' he said.


    More...
    Russia's 'rescue' of hijacked cargo ship Arctic Sea thrown into doubt


    But some maritime and security experts said they doubted the ransom claim.

    'This business about the ransom, I believe this very little,' said Mikhail Voitenko, the editor of the online Maritime Bulletin-Sovfracht.

    He and others have speculated that the freighter was carrying an undeclared cargo, possibly weapons or drugs.

    Voitenko said he did not suspect the Russian government of smuggling; it was more likely a well-connected business clan.



    Unidentified members of the Russian crew of the Arctic Sea freighter are collected and moved to the Russian navy destroyer Ladnii

    Tarmo Kouts, a former commander of the Estonian defense forces, said Russia's version of the hijacking raised many questions.

    'This whole story looks so far-fetched that it would be naive to believe Russia's official version,' Kouts was quoted as saying in the Estonian newspaper Postimees.

    The crew said the hijackers were armed but threw their weapons overboard when the Russian naval frigate approached.

    State Vesti-24 television has interviewed crewmen who said the ship was seized in the Baltic Sea by gunmen who threatened them with weapons and forced the captain to report to authorities that everything was normal on board.



    The Arctic Sea, pictured off the coast of Kotka, southern Finland, at the end of last year


    The timber-loaded Arctic Sea and its 15 Russian crew members left a Finnish port on July 21.

    The Maltese-flagged freighter gave no indication of any difficulties or change in its route during radio contact while passing through the English Channel on July 28.

    Signals from the ship's tracking device were picked up off the French coast late the next day, but that was the last confirmed trace of it until Monday.

    The ship had been due to dock in Algeria on August 4 with its cargo of timber worth more than $1.8million.

    The Arctic Sea is operated by the Finnish company Solchart, which has Russian management and a sister company providing technical support in the Russian city of Arkhangelsk, the home of all 15 crew members.

    Ivan Boiko, the deputy director of Solchart Arkhangelsk, said he expected the ship's timber to be delivered to the Algerian port of Bejaia by a new crew.
    Last edited by Peter Lemkin; 08-21-2009 at 04:59 PM.
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  7. #17

    Default

    Arctic Sea mystery deepens after arrests





    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/8214426.stm
    Video at the above link.

    Suspected hijackers flown in military plane

    By Alan Quartly
    Editor, BBC Moscow bureau


    Against the early morning Atlantic sun, a bus pulls up on the tarmac at the airport of Cape Verde.
    A group of weather-beaten, unshaven men are led in handcuffs through a line of camouflaged soldiers up the rear ramp of a large transport plane.
    It is the beginning of a long and arduous journey for the eight alleged hijackers of the freighter Arctic Sea.
    Russian state television showed this scene on its main evening news on Thursday evening in a report that looked like a scene from an action film.

    Click here for a map charting reported sightings of the Arctic Sea
    The report gave us a closer glimpse of the men who had allegedly been in command of the ship that had been missing for nearly a month.
    But, if anything, what we saw and heard only added to the mystery.
    With characteristic toughness, the Russian military made the alleged hijackers lie face down on the floor of the plane - apparently for the entirety of the journey to Russia.
    They were bare-chested and their hands were cuffed behind their backs. Some of them lay with their heads just millimetres from the boots of their colleagues.
    'Private firm'
    As ever, Russian television did not shy away from asking questions of people accused of crimes, but not yet convicted.
    The report showed one alleged hijacker, apparently called Andrei Lunev, answering questions.
    The suspects were detained by Russian officials off Africa's coast

    "You called yourselves ecologists, which organisation do you belong to?" he was asked.
    "I don't know, some kind of private firm," replied a strained-looking Mr Lunev.
    "We wanted to save ourselves from the storm, so we went on board [the Arctic Sea] on the night of 25 July. When we got away from the storm, the captain wouldn't give us any petrol."
    The cameraman zoomed in on the colourful tattoos emblazoned on the backs of some of the men.
    The implication for Russians is that these men are professional criminals - it is traditional for criminals in Russia to adorn their bodies with complex tattoos.
    So we saw intricate pictures of skulls and a lion's head.
    Identifying the hijackers
    Mr Lunev denied that the group had any weapons. Russia's defence ministry says the group threw their weapons overboard when the vessel was finally located and halted by the Russian warship Ladny on 17 August.
    The ship is reportedly heading for the Russian port of Novorossisk

    Moscow also says the hijackers demanded a ransom, threatening to blow the ship up if it was not paid.
    Russian newspapers have sought to verify this. Kommersant quoted Vladimir Dushin, vice-president of Renaissance Insurance, as saying the company was phoned by an English-speaking caller on 3 August, who demanded $1.5m (910,000) or the crew of the Arctic Sea would be shot and the ship sunk.
    All we know for sure is that once the Ilyushin transport plane landed at the Chakalovsky military airfield near Moscow on Thursday morning, the alleged hijackers were frog-marched off to waiting buses and delivered to the Lefortovo prison in the east of the Russian capital.
    Various countries are now involved in indentifying the band of eight. Russia's official investigation department says its officials will be cooperating with other states.
    Estonian police have apparently said the majority of the group are known to them as criminals, although there are questions about the exact citizenship of the men.
    As for the 15 Russian crew members of the cargo ship, most of them too have found themselves spending the night in the same prison as the ship's alleged assailants.
    Officials insist the men will be released once they have been questioned fully.
    Curtain of secrecy
    However, representatives of the families of the crew have complained about being kept in the dark.
    Apparently one of [the suspects] is suspected of links to the pirates who seized them


    Alexander Krasnoshtan
    Sailors' union representative

    "We don't understand the curtain of secrecy that's not allowing us or the relatives to find out what's happening with the sailors and how they are feeling," Alexander Krasnoshtan, a sailors' union representative, told the official Russian news agency Interfax.
    He went on to say that, according to "rumours", the men had been interrogated at a location belonging to the FSB (Russia's internal security service) until 0100.
    "Apparently one of them is suspected of links to the pirates who seized them," he said.
    Authorities will not confirm that. The ship itself - according to President Dmitry Medvedev's spokeswoman - will now head for the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk, with its captain and three crew members still on board. The ship is actually registered in Malta.
    Some analysts and journalists continue to speculate about the nature of the Arctic Sea's cargo, suggesting - without as yet presenting any evidence - that it was carrying more than its stated batch of timber destined for Algeria.
    But the reality is that, at this stage, nobody knows.

    "I think it would be a good idea." Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx.

    "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963, replied Ms Rice Davies when the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her.

  8. #18

    Default Russia ship mystery editor flees

    Russia ship mystery editor flees


    Mr Voitenko said it was nonsense to suggest pirates had been involved

    A journalist has fled Russia after suggesting the Arctic Sea cargo ship that was apparently hijacked in July may have been carrying illegal weapons.
    Mikhail Voitenko said he had been told to leave Moscow or face arrest.
    The editor of Sovfracht, an online maritime journal, fled on Wednesday, saying he may not be able to return as his life would be in danger.
    Eight men, mainly from Estonia, have been charged with hijacking and piracy over the case.
    The men are suspected of seizing the ship and its 15-man Russian crew after raiding it disguised as police.
    The alleged hijackers were taken to Russia after the ship was spotted 300 miles (480km) off the west coast of Africa on 16 August.
    Secret shipment
    Mr Voitenko - who was among the first to cast doubt on official explanations about the ship's disappearance - told the BBC it was nonsense to suggest pirates had been involved.
    Eight men have been charged with hijacking and piracy over the case

    Instead he suggested the ship may have been carrying a secret shipment of weapons as part of a private business deal by state officials.
    Speaking to the BBC from Turkey, Mr Voitenko said he had received a threatening phone call from "serious people" whom he suggested may have been members of Russia's intelligence agency, the FSB.
    The caller told Mr Voitenko that those involved in the mysterious case of the Arctic Sea were very angry with him because he had spoken publicly, and were planning on taking action against him, he said.
    "As long as I am out of Russia I feel safe," Mr Voitenko told the BBC. "At least they won't be able to get me back to Russia and convict [me]."
    He also said Nato knew exactly what had happened to the Arctic Sea.
    A Nato spokesman said the alliance had been in contact with Russia throughout the crisis, but would not say anything more.
    The FSB refused to comment on the allegations.
    Further inspection
    Mystery continues to surround the ship's disappearance, amid speculation the ship may have been intercepted by Mossad - Israel's foreign intelligence service - in order to prevent a shipment of illegal arms to the Middle East.
    There has been much speculation over what actually happened on the ship

    The 4,000-tonne Maltese-flagged vessel vanished in July days after leaving Finland with an apparent cargo of timber worth $1.8m (1.1m), destined for the Algerian port of Bejaia.
    Observers have questioned why the alleged hijackers would risk seizing the Arctic Sea in one of Europe's busiest shipping lanes for a relatively inexpensive cargo.
    Russian authorities said nothing suspicious was found aboard the ship when it was found last month, but have said a more thorough inspection would be carried out when the Arctic Sea arrives in the Russian port of Novorossiisk.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8235647.stm
    "I think it would be a good idea." Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx.

    "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963, replied Ms Rice Davies when the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her.

  9. #19

    Default 'Israel behind Russian hijacking,' EU piracy expert tells 'Time'

    'Israel behind Russian hijacking,' EU piracy expert tells 'Time'

    By JERUSALEM POST STAFF







    The conspiracy theory which names Israel as the mastermind behind the mysterious hijacking of a Russian freighter in July appears to be gaining traction, with the European Union's rapporteur on piracy, Admiral Tarmo Kouts, expressing his support for that version of events.

    [IMG]http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?blobcol=URLIMAGE&blobheader=image%2Fjpeg &blobheadername1=Cache-Control&blobheadervalue1=max-age%3D420&blobkey=ID&blobtable=JPVideo&blobwhere=1 251804473816&cachecontrol=5%3A0%3A0+*%2F*%2F*&ssbi nary=true[/IMG]


    'Time' magazine: Israel behind mysterious Russian freighter hijacking



    In an interview with Time magazine, Kouts said that the interception of the Arctic Sea, and the ship's subsequent total disappearance before being retrieved by the Russian navy, bared the marks of an Israeli operation, which he termed the most likely explanation.
    "There is the idea that there were missiles aboard, and one can't explain this situation in any other way," he told the magazine, becoming the highest-ranking official to date to support the theory. "As a sailor with years of experience, I can tell you that the official versions are not realistic."
    In response to Kouts's remarks, Russia's ambassador to NATO, Dmitri Rogozin, said that the EU official should stop "running his mouth."
    According to the official Russian explanation of the incident, the boat was simply transporting a shipment of timber when it was hijacked by pirates who originally claimed to be environmentalists. After the pirates turned off the ship's tracking device in late July, the boat effectively disappeared. Russia sent out a search party, and on August 17, the ship and its crew were rescued.
    While Russia has consistently denied any report which deviates from their official line, numerous papers quoting various experts claimed there was far more to the story. These experts cite a number of facts to support their theory, such as the ship not sending out a distress signal, President Shimon Peres's surprise visit to Russia shortly after the incident, and the unusually long amount of time it took the Russian navy to track down the freighter.



    Until today, no government official of any kind has gone on the record to accuse Israel as being behind the hijacking, but many have admitted that the story - or at least the official version - does not appear to hold water.



    "There is something fishy about this whole story, no doubt about it," former Israeli deputy defense minister Ephraim Sneh told The Media Line. "But I can't comment further on this."
    "I think it would be a good idea." Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx.

    "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963, replied Ms Rice Davies when the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her.

  10. #20

    Default Did Israel Stop Russian Ship to Prevent Missile Delivery?

    Did Israel Stop Russian Ship to Prevent Missile Delivery?


    Russian Reporter Who Broke Story of Hijacked Ship Flees Country


    By ALEXANDER MARQUARDT
    MOSCOW Sept. 2, 20009



    A top European Union official says that the cargo ship Arctic Sea that disappeared in the waters off of Portugal in late July was secretly carrying Russian missiles bound for the Middle East but was intercepted by Israel.
    In this Dec. 29, 2008 file photo the cargo ship the Arctic Sea is seen in Kotka, Finland. Russia's...
    In this Dec. 29, 2008 file photo the cargo ship the Arctic Sea is seen in Kotka, Finland. Russia's navy detained eight men accused of hijacking the Arctic Sea freighter near Sweden and forcing the crew to sail to West Africa, state news agencies quoted the defense minister as saying Tuesday.
    (Pekka Laakso, Lehitukuva,/AP Photo)

    The Russian maritime expert who broke the story of the ship's disappearance agrees that the ship was likely carrying something Russia doesn't want the world to see and has fled to Turkey after a mysterious phone call told him to "get the hell out of Russia."
    "There is the idea that there were missiles aboard, and one can't explain this situation in any other way," the EU's rapporteur on piracy Admiral Tarmo Kouts told Time Magazine, confirming that he believes Israel was behind the interception of the Arctic Sea. "As a sailor with years of experience, I can tell you that the official versions are not realistic."
    Related
    The Mystery of the Missing Ship 'Arctic Sea'



    The official version is the ship was sailing from Finland to Algeria with about $1.5 million worth of lumber. On July 24, it was reportedly boarded by hijackers in the Baltic Sea. After 12 hours, the crew radioed shore saying the hijackers had left and they were continuing on their voyage. After the ship passed through the English Channel a few days later, there was no more contact with land and the vessel vanished off of radar screens on July 29.


    Two weeks later, Russian president Dmitry Medvedev ordered the Russian Navy to go find the ship and its Russian crew. They located it on Aug. 17 off the Cape Verde Islands and claimed to have taken it back from the pirates who were still on board without firing a shot.
    The navy has now commandeered the ship and is towing it to a port in the Black Sea so that investigators can "find out what cargo the Arctic Sea was carrying," a spokesman from Russia's Investigations Committee told Interfax. They deny that arms were on board but don't rule out the possibility of something besides lumber being in the hold.

    "You can easily hide an alley of cruise missiles under a lumber stockpile," Kouts told an Estonian newspaper two weeks ago, and the Russian maritime expert who broke the story on Aug. 8 of the ship's disappearance agrees with him.
    "I can't think of any other reason," Mikhail Voitenko told ABC News. "I just can't explain it by any other way. Not by piracy, it's foolish. What piracy?" he asks, pointing to the low value of the ship's official cargo.



    Voitenko has been a loud voice about the lack of detail surrounding the saga of the Arctic Sea and his reporting in his online maritime bulletin Sovfracht apparently touched a nerve. A few days ago he got a call telling him he had hours to "get the hell out of Russia" or he would be arrested.
    "There is something on board they don't want anyone to see," says Voitenko by phone from a hotel in Istanbul. He says that by reporting the missing ship he "spoiled the whole business for somebody" and now "they just want revenge, to smash me."
    Voitenko says his primary concern is the ship's crew. When the navy took over the ship they immediately flew 11 of the 15 crew back to Moscow along with the hijackers for questioning.

    The crew members were confined to a hotel for two weeks, only allowed to call their families to tell them they were alive and well. They were released over the weekend and haven't revealed anything about their ordeal or the questioning that followed.
    When asked by reporters what happened during their four weeks at sea, one sailor joked to reporters that they were "in the Bermuda Triangle and the pirates fed us ice cream."
    As for why aren't saying more, "They don't call me, I don't call them. We are afraid," explains Voitenko.
    The eight hijackers for their part claim they are ecologists who ran out of gas in the Baltic, which certainly doesn't explain the $1.5 million ransom they are reported to have demanded. The Russian, Estonian and Latvian nationals have been charged with piracy and kidnapping.
    Israel's Foreign Ministry won't comment and Russian officials have flatly denied that they were transporting weapons. Russia's NATO envoy said Admiral Kouts should "stop running his mouth."


    Authorities say the "Arctic Sea" will arrive in the port of Novorossiisk in mid-September with the four remaining crew members at which point a more thorough investigation will take place.

    http://abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=8472480
    "I think it would be a good idea." Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx.

    "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963, replied Ms Rice Davies when the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her.

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