Μυστηριώδης εξαφάνιση ρωσικού πλοίου
Ship disappears after sailing through English Channel
Associated Press 14 Aug 2009 02:15 AM
It has been more than two weeks since the Arctic Sea sailed through the English Channel - and then, simply, disappeared.
Russian navy vessels were trolling the Atlantic yesterday in search for the Maltese-flagged ship, last heard from on July 28 making contact with British maritime officials and then sailing through the Dover Strait.
The ship, its 15 Russian crew members and its 1.3 million euros (US$1.8 million) cargo of timber had been due to make port Aug. 4 in Algeria but haven't arrived.
Speculation on what might have happened has ranged from theories that it might have been carrying secret cargo to the possibility that it fell victim to 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.
Malta Maritime Authority said the MV Artic Sea "has not approached the Straits of Gibraltar, which indicates that the ship headed out in the Atlantic Ocean." Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered that "all necessary measures" be taken to find the missing ship, and the Russian navy turned all of its vessels in the Atlantic - including three landing ships, a frigate and two nuclear-powered submarines - to search.
Finnish police said they also were assisting in the investigation.
The ship had reported being attacked July 24 off the Swedish island of Oland. It said a group of 10 masked men had boarded, tied up the crew and beat them before leaving 12 hours later in a high-speed inflatable boat, Swedish police said.