Sunday, August 16, 2009

Merchant Vessel Pirate Mystery Continues

Allegations of ransom demands for missing freighter.
Shipping News Feature

FINLAND – The ongoing saga of the MV Arctic Sea took a new twist last night as unconfirmed reports of a ransom demand surfaced.

The reported sighting of the ship passing Cape Verde is now thought possibly to be inaccurate and in the scramble to uncover the truth of the vessels predicament, over twenty countries have now been drawn into the saga with its appropriately Scandinavian roots.

In Finland and Russia officials have both confirmed that the Finnish owned, Maltese flagged, Russian crewed 4000 tonne lumber carrier is now subject to a $1.5 million ransom demand. A spokesman for the FNBI (Finnish National Bureau of Investigation) confirmed receipt of the demand by the vessels owners but could not guarantee it was genuinely from those currently holding the ship.

The story of the Arctic Sea has rapidly moved to transfix the world’s press. It contains elements of fantasy rarely seen in a headline news story, masked raiders, kidnap, piracy, mystery, multi national interests. How long will the saga continue? Does the ship contain contraband cargo? Is organised crime involved? Has she been boarded once or twice?

Hopefully the crew are still safe but the ships owners, Solchart Management in Finland now say they believe the lives of their crew are “significantly threatened”.

It is to be hoped that the whole mysterious matter will be rapidly resolved without the loss of any lives.

Earlier reports:  1/8/09  12/8/09   14/8/09   15/8/09