Monday, August 17, 2009

Missing Cargo Ship Found !

A cargo ship that went missing on July 24 has been found near the Cape Verde Islands according to a report from the BBC. The ship was located by the Russian searchers who had been scouring the high seas for their missing countrymen. The 15 crew members were reportedly in good condition and spirits. They have been taken on a Russian Naval vessel, where they are reportedly being debriefed about the mysterious disappearance of their ship. Finland had reported a demand on Saturday for ransom. The demand could not be authenticated. The BBC reports as follows.

"The Arctic Sea was found at 0100 Monday (2100 GMT Sunday) 300 miles (480 km) off Cape Verde in the Atlantic Ocean, Tass news agency quoted Mr Serdyukov as telling Russian President Dmitry Medvedev."

It reported further of Malta's interest in the ship's disappearance as follows.

"Malta's Maritime Security Committee confirmed that the vessel was in the hands of the Russian military. Further clarification in the case was being sought, it said in a statement.

Carrying timber reportedly worth $1.8m (£1.1m), the 4,000-tonne Maltese-flagged vessel sailed from Finland and had been scheduled to dock in the Algerian port of Bejaia on 4 August."

Despite the good news of the well being of the ship's crew, there are no answers yet to questions about the mysterious events that unfolded in Swedish waters, far from most reported instances of piracy. The ship was an odd mix. It was Finnish owned with a Russian crew following under a Maltese flag. Both Malta and Finland are small, democratic countries that function in the shadopw of the Arab world and the eastern bloc, respectively.

Was it a mafia type dispute? Was the ship really only carrying lumber? Or was some kink of espionage or intrigue involved? If this is a cloak and dagger affair, it will be of less concern than if it is plain and common piracy. The answers, if any to come out of Russia's investigation will be of pressing interest to all.

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