Category Archive 'Arctic Sea (freighter)'

07 Sep 2009

The Arctic Sea Mystery Unravels

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Mystery of the Arctic Sea
, 8/20

The Telegraph
reports Intelligence leaks indicating that the hijacking was done by Mossad (not a peep from Debkafile!) and was done to prevent an unauthorized shipment of advanced Russian air defense missiles from reaching Iran.

Mystery has surrounded the ship, officially carrying a cargo of timber worth £1.3 million from Finland to Algeria, since its crew first reported a boarding in Swedish waters on July 24 after a raid by 10 armed English-speaking men posing as anti-narcotics police officers.

It was eventually recovered off the coast of west Africa on August 17. Russia has since charged eight men from Estonia, Latvia and Russia with kidnapping and piracy.

Russian officials have said the alleged pirates demanded a $1.5 million ransom but speculation has grown that the freighter was carrying contraband cargo.

Israeli and Russian security sources have questioned The Kremlin’s official explanation, instead arguing that the ship was carrying S-300 missiles, Russia’s most advanced anti-aircraft weapon, while undergoing repairs in the Russian port of Kaliningrad, a notorious Baltic smuggling base.

According to reports, Mossad is said to have briefed the Russian government that the shipment had been sold by former military officers linked to the black market, and Russia then dispatched a naval rescue mission. Those who believe Mossad was involved point to a visit to Moscow by Shimon Peres, Israel’s president, the day after the Arctic Sea was recovered.

Crew members of the Arctic Sea have since told Russian news reporters that they have been told not to disclose “state secrets” further fuelling the speculation.

A Russian military source told The Sunday Times: “The official version is ridiculous and was given to allow the Kremlin to save face.

“I’ve spoken to people close to the investigation and they’ve pretty much confirmed Mossad’s involvement. It’s laughable to believe all this fuss was over a load of timber. I’m not alone in believing that it was carrying weapons to Iran.”


S-300PMU2 Favorit

Russian news agency RT News (Moscow) has the same story on this 4:42 video

20 Aug 2009

Mystery of the “Arctic Sea”

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Russian freighter Arctic Sea

The world recently witnessed a real life Hunt for the Red October as Russia scrambled air and naval forces, and even deployed satellites, in a intensive search for the Arctic Sea, a perfectly ordinary freighter which had departed Kaliningrad carrying a cargo of timber destined for Algeria, and was hijacked in the Baltic by an unknown group of armed men.

ABCNews:

The hijackers of a cargo ship that disappeared off the coast of France threatened to blow it up if their ransom demands were not met, Russian news agencies said.

Russia has arrested eight people on suspicion of hijacking the Arctic Sea off the Swedish coast and sailing it to the Atlantic Ocean, ending weeks of silence about the fate of a ship which has intrigued European maritime authorities.

Limited information from Russian officials has failed to satisfy sceptics (sic) who voiced doubts about whether the piracy actually took place or was a convenient cover story to conceal a possible secret cargo of arms or nuclear material. …

The Maltese-registered, Russian-crewed vessel and its $1.3 million cargo of timber disappeared from radar screens three weeks ago, prompting speculation ranging from an attack by an organised crime gang to a top-secret spy mission.

The Malta Maritime Authority said on Tuesday, without elaborating, that the Arctic Sea had “never really disappeared”, a comment which increased speculation that security services might have been involved in the affair.

Russia has said the eight detainees were citizens of Estonia, Latvia and Russia who on July 24 boarded the ship, forced the crew to change route and turned off its navigation equipment.

After heading through the English Channel in late July, radio contact was lost and the 4,000-tonne ship did not deliver its cargo to the Algerian port of Bejaia on August 4.

The Russian navy found the missing ship on Monday in the Atlantic Ocean near Cape Verde.

The official version of events was questioned by Yulia Latynina, a leading Russian opposition journalist and commentator.

“The Arctic Sea was carrying something, not timber and not from Finland, that necessitated some major work on the ship,” she wrote in the Moscow Times newspaper on Wednesday.

During two weeks of repair works in the Russian port of Kaliningrad just before the voyage, the ship’s bulkhead was dismantled so something very large could be loaded, she wrote.

“To put it plainly: The Arctic Sea was carrying some sort of anti-aircraft or nuclear contraption intended for a nice, peaceful country like Syria, and they were caught with it,” she said.

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CS Monitor:

Political analysts and maritime security experts remain skeptical that the hijackers were merely interested in the crew or the ship’s cargo – a load of lumber bound for Algeria.

That bulky, low-value cargo was worth about $1.8 million, which makes the danger and expense of a takeover hardly seem worth it. “Hijacking lumber … it’s sort of like counterfeiting one dollar bills,” says John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, a provider of defense and intelligence information. Mr. Pike calls the Arctic Sea incident an “out-of-pattern hijacking.”


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