Eight people arrested in connection with Arctic Sea disappearance
The story of the mysterious disappearance of Finnish-owned freighter ‘Arctic Sea’ with the Russian crew on board came to an end yesterday when the ship was rescued by a Russian naval vessel. Today, it became known that the ship was in fact hijacked. No information about the presence of the alleged secret cargo has been disclosed yet. Eight men -- from Estonia, Latvia and Russia -- were arrested in connection with the ship’s disappearance.
The Arctic Sea left the Finnish port of Pietarsaari on July 21. On July 30, Swedish police said the ship’s owner had reported that the crew claimed the vessel was boarded by masked men on July 24 near the Swedish island of Gotland. The attackers reportedly had tied up the crew, beat them, claimed they were looking for drugs, then sped off about 12 hours later in an inflatable craft.
Serdyukov said the hijackers boarded the freighter under the pretext that there was a problem with their inflatable craft. The hijackers, who were armed, then forced the crew to change course and turned off the Arctic Sea’s navigation equipment, he was quoted as saying.
By the time the Swedish report of the attack had emerged, the ship had already passed through the English Channel, where it made its last known radio contact on July 28. Signals from the ship’s tracking device were picked up off France’s coast late the next day, but that was the last known trace of it until Monday.
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