Sunday, August 16, 2009

Has Piracy Spread to Europe's Waters? Update 3: The Search Continues

Russian crew under 'significant threat' as search continues for missing ship Arctic Sea

An international maritime hunt for the Maltese flagged and Russian owned vessel, involving 20 nations and led by the Russian military and Western alliance, was in operation this weekend after it was last sighted off the West African coast on Friday. The operation is in full swing and it's unfolding positively. The pace gives us grounds to hope for success," Dmitry Rogozin, Russia's ambassador to Nato, told Russia's state-run Vesti broadcaster.

The Malta Maritime Authority said a media blackout on operations over the "alleged aggravated extortion and alleged hijacking" was in place to protect the lives of the crew.

Finnish police investigators confirmed this weekend that a ransom demand had been received by the MV Arctic Sea's Russian owners, based in Finland, following a raid on the ship by armed intruders three weeks ago. The precise figure of the "largish amount of money" demanded by the hijackers has not been released by the authorities.

"There has been a demand for ransom, which is money, and the demand has been made to the company which owns the ship," said Jan Nyholm, a Finnish detective chief superintendent.

Finland's YLE radio station has reported police sources who said that "the lives of the crew have been threatened if the ransom is not paid". The Arctic Sea's crew reported a first boarding in Swedish waters on Jul 24 after a raid by 10 armed English-speaking men masquerading as anti-narcotics police officers.



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I am a law enforcement professional with over 35 years experience in both sworn and civilian positions. I have service in 3 different countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

My principal areas of expertise are: (1) Intelligence, (2) Training and Development, (3) Knowledge Management, and (4) Administration/Supervision.

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