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 Ship Disappears, Can you believe this?
Nick Kismet
Posted: Aug 13 2009, 02:57 AM


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We've gotten used to news of piracy in the Indian Ocean, but in the English Channel??? Or is there something more sinister at work? The Sea Wraiths perhaps?
detective.gif

Ship Disappears After Sail Through English Channel

LONDON First the ship reported it had been attacked in waters off Sweden. Then it sailed with no apparent problems through one of the world's busiest shipping lanes. And then it disappeared. The Arctic Sea, a Maltese-flagged cargo ship, was supposed to make port in Algeria with its cargo of timber on Aug. 4. More than a week later, there's no sign of the ship or its Russian crew.

Piracy has exploded off the coast of lawless Somalia but could this be an almost unheard of case of sea banditry in European waters?

"If this is a criminal act, it appears to be following a new business model," Marine intelligence expert Graeme Gibbon-Brooks told Sky News on Wednesday.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered the country's defense minister on Wednesday to take "all necessary measures" to find the missing cargo ship and, if necessary, to free its crew, the Kremlin said. Wives and other relatives of the crew members issued an appeal to the Russian government to carry out a full-scale rescue mission, using all of Russia's special services.

The mystery began on July 24, when the 15 crew members of the Arctic Sea said they were tied up and beaten by a group of up to 10 men who boarded the ship off the Swedish island of Oland. The masked men identified themselves as police officers but Swedish police said they hadn't been searching ships in that area.

Swedish police investigator Ingemar Isaksson said the crew then claimed that the men left the ship 12 hours later in a high-speed inflatable boat.

"We were very puzzled when we first heard about this," Isaksson said then. "I have never heard of anything like this in Swedish waters."

On July 28, the Arctic Sea made contact with British maritime authorities as it passed through the busy English Channel. The ship made a routine, mandatory report saying who they were, where they were from, where they were going and what their cargo was. It appeared routine, said Mark Clark of Britain's Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

He said the agency is "extremely curious" about what happened to the ship.

"It's bizarre," he said. "There is no coastguard I know who can remember anything like this happening."

Where the ship was next spotted is uncertain. Russian media reports say the last contact was on July 30 when the ship was in the Bay of Biscay, and that it was later spotted by a Portuguese patrol plane, but there was no contact.

But Portuguese Navy spokesman Commander Joao Barbosa said "we can guarantee that the ship is not in Portuguese waters nor did it ever pass through Portuguese waters."

The cargo was shipped by Finnish wood supplier Rets Timber, and is worth 1.3 million euros ($1.84 million), the company said.

"We have no idea where the ship is," company managing director Kari Naumanen told the AP in Helsinki.

Experts are very concerned about the vessel and crew, but at the same time are wary of attributing the disappearance to armed bandits.

"There have been no attacks in European waters," said Pottengal Mukundan, director of the London-based International Maritime Bureau. "It's not the kind of area where pirates would find it easy to operate."

Nick Davis, the chief executive of the Merchant Maritime Warfare Centre, told the BBC that if anything had happened to the ship, cargo would have been found.

"I strongly suspect that this is probably a commercial dispute with its owner and a third party and they've decided to take matters into their own hands," he said Wednesday.

Pirate attacks off Somalia's lawless coast are a far more familiar occurrence. Pirates have launched more than 100 attacks this year in the Gulf of Aden, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes, and are currently holding about a dozen vessels.

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DirkPitt
Posted: Aug 13 2009, 08:12 AM


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hmmmm ... Secret cargo! "expensive and dangerous" watch clip

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DirkPitt
Posted: Aug 13 2009, 11:59 AM


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Very interesting!

Russia's entire Atlantic fleet join international hunt for 'pirate' ship that vanished by Kent coast

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/...l#ixzz0O3zsWmU7
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oswalder
Posted: Aug 13 2009, 07:02 PM


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Hmm, remind anyone else of the Hunt For Red October?
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DirkPitt
Posted: Aug 13 2009, 09:47 PM


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QUOTE (oswalder @ Aug 14 2009, 03:02 AM)
Hmm, remind anyone else of the Hunt For Red October?

or ... Valhalla Rising!
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oswalder
Posted: Aug 14 2009, 06:01 PM


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According to this article, the ship has been found off Cape Verde, but it does not say what happened between the English Channel two weeks ago and today.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/missing_ship
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DirkPitt
Posted: Aug 19 2009, 04:05 AM


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VALLETTA (Reuters) - The Malta Maritime Authority said Tuesday a hijacked merchant ship recaptured by the Russian navy had 'never really disappeared'.
The ship Finnish owned and Russian operated vessel, the Arctic Sea, sailed under the Maltese flag. Maltese authorities said a Maritime Security Committee that grouped representatives of Sweden, Finland and Malta had continued to closely monitor developments of the incident involving the ship.

"The committee would like to clarify that the movements of the Arctic Sea were always known for several days, notwithstanding reports that the ship had disappeared," the Maltese Maritime Authority said.

"There was consensus amongst the investigating authorities of Finland, Malta and Sweden not to disclose any sensitive information in order not to jeopardize the life and safety of the persons on board and the integrity of the ship."

Russia said earlier Tuesday that eight people from Latvia, Estonia and Russia had been arrested for hijacking the merchant ship and were being questioned aboard a Russian naval vessel.

The apparent disappearance of the cargo ship and its 15-man Russian crew aroused suspicions of piracy.

The vessel left European waters and failed to deliver its cargo of timber to Algeria in early August. Monday, Russia's navy said it had found the vessel in the Atlantic off Cape Verde.

The hijackers were being questioned onboard the Russian anti-submarine ship Ladny, Interfax news agency reported.

Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov told reporters: "This was an act of piracy."

(Reporting by Christopher Scicluna; Editing by Jon Hemming)

http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/i...E57H4LG20090818
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I spy
Posted: Aug 23 2009, 06:08 PM


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http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid...icle%2FShowFull
Pirates recently gained control over a Russian ship off the shores of Sweden in order to prevent weapons smuggling to Iran on Israel's behalf, according to a report by Russian newspaper Nuvia Gueta.

According to Saturday's report, which Army Radio cited, the Russian ship was carrying a load of X-55 cruise missiles intended for Teheran. Several days after the pirates seized the ship, Russian navy forces gained control over the vessel off the coast of West Africa
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Guest
Posted: Aug 23 2009, 11:09 PM


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Sounds like a great plot to a novel. Mercinaries have to track down the weapons and capture them before they reach their destination... Sometimes real life is as interesting and exciting as fiction!
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oswalder
Posted: Aug 24 2009, 04:43 PM


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QUOTE (Guest @ Aug 23 2009, 06:09 PM)
Sounds like a great plot to a novel. Mercinaries have to track down the weapons and capture them before they reach their destination... Sometimes real life is as interesting and exciting as fiction!

I thought that sounded familiar! Do we ever consider the crew of the Oregon to be pirates? What if it were really government operatives that boarded the ship off of Sweden? Good catch, you guys!
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