MV Arctic Sea lost radio contact at sea on July 28 and thereafter whereabouts of the vessel was not known.After intensive search by the Russian Navy, the vessel was found and her crew were taken to a Russian warship on August 17. No pirates, no gunmen were found onboard. Further investigations are going on to find out the reasons for disappearance of the vessel for almost two weeks.
Information available on MV Arctic Sea from media reports:
- July 23: Finnish owned, Maltese flagged, 4000 ton dry cargo vessel Arctic Sea with 15 Russian crew sailed from Jakobstad, Finland with timber, and was scheduled to arrive at the Algerian port of Bejaia on August 4.
- July 24: Ten masked men claiming to be police seized the vessel off Gotland in the Baltic Sea, tied the crew up and searched the vessel. After 12 hours the vessel was released and the vessel resumed her voyage.
- July 28: Contact was lost with the ship.
- August 01: Last sighted off Portugal’s Atlantic coast, by a Portuguese patrol boat.
- August 11: Solchart Arkhangelsk Ltd, the owner of the dry cargo vessel, requested Russian assistance to trace the ship. Relatives of the missing crew also appealed to the Russian authorities to locate the vessel and save the crew.
- August 12: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev initiated measures to track the vessel by Black Sea Fleet. Russian guided missile frigate Ladny, immediately took over the mission to locate the vessel in addition to Portugal carrying out its own search.
- August 14:
- Ship owner confirmed that whereabouts of the vessel was still not known as on-board satellite communications system was found to be switched off.
- The vessel was spotted 840 km (521 miles) off Cape Verde and Russian frigate Ladny was heading towards Cape Verde.
- August 15:
- The vessel’s tracking device was found to be briefly reactivated and the vessel was located to be in the Bay of Biscay. After one hour contact was lost.
- A ransom demand for $ 1.5 million was received by the ship owners for the release of the vessel.
- Speculative reasons for the missing vessel:
- The vessel was reported to be carrying some unknown/banned/high value cargo.
- The vessel was second time attacked and hijacked.
- The crew themselves have hijacked the vessel on a dispute with the ship owner.
- The insurance premium for a ship like Arctic Sea may vary from $10 and $20 million.
View some video clips:
Post in MarineBuzz on this day a year before:
Update: August 18
Russian frigate Ladny arrested 8 suspected hijackers (four Estonians, two Latvians and two Russians) from MV Arctic Sea without firing a single shot. The vessel was rescued 480 kms (300 miles) off Cape Verde. The hijackers after boarding the vessel threatened the crew with weapons and forced them to follow their orders after switching off all communication equipment. Read more from RIA Novosti.
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