Skip to comments.Russia says it tracked hijacked Arctic Sea all along, but questions grow over cargo(NK twist)
Posted on 08/26/2009 10:35:18 AM PDT by TigerLikesRooster
Russia says it tracked hijacked Arctic Sea all along, but questions grow over cargo
Tony Halpin in Moscow
Russias top general hinted today that the ship allegedly hijacked by pirates earlier this month may have been carrying a secret cargo, as it emerged that the countrys Navy tracked the vessel throughout its journey.
President Medvedev sent the Russian Navy to find the Arctic Sea after it apparently disappeared while passing through the English Channel en route to Algeria from Finland. However, the Foreign Ministry in Moscow now says that Russian and international agencies had monitored the ship throughout its strange three-week voyage.
General Nikolai Makarov, the Russian Armys top general, said that the military would search the vessel thoroughly after it had docked at the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk. The motives behind the seizure are not wholly clear. We do not know what it is carrying, he told reporters. All we know is that it is carrying timber, but an investigation should determine whether it is carrying anything else.
The saga also took a bizarre new twist when the ministry disclosed that the ships captain had tried to pass off the Arctic Sea as a North Korean vessel when it was intercepted by the Russian Navy. This is the first time that investigators have implicated the crew in the mystery.
The ministry said that the captain unexpectedly claimed to be in charge of a ship called the Chongdin 2 that was carrying timber from Cuba to Sierra Leone. Russian diplomats in Pyongyang checked with North Korean officials and were told that the Chongdin 2 was docked at a port in Angola at the time.
(Excerpt) Read more at timesonline.co.uk ...
Act of desperation? Or is there something to this?
Then it is not piracy but barratry?
I don't have any idea what was on that ship, or where it was going - but, I bet whatever it was, it's something that would not be good for America, going someplace where there's people who don't like Americans.
Perhaps, but that presumes that the ship's owner didn't know what was really on that ship, and didn't advise the Captain or it's crew to disguise their identity.
However, from what I understand, the ship's owner is a legitimate and well-recognized maritime operator. So, it very well may be barratry.
I saw something on this yesterday, have you seen any theories on what this is?
Alexie, you mean to tell me you’ve lost ANOTHER sub?
There are twenty-odd theories on this deal. The most interesting one is that someone outside the Russian government got something to barter or trade...and used the ship to move their property out to sea. Someone else....again...outside the Russian government...decided to get in on the deal or reap the harvest of this dishonest deal. So the vessel leaves with secret cargo and bad guys #1 and then encounters bad guys #2...and then reaches some neutral point in the Atlantic.
The last curious thing...as the Russian navy finally arrives...these bad guys toss over their weapons entirely. They have nothing and intend not to shoot a single round.
Now in Moscow....the story isn’t jiving and even the crew’s explanation on things doesn’t totally figure. Whatever cargo was onboard...I think...is long gone. Neither the crew or the second group of bad guys want to discuss anything else.
And the Russian government knows something fishy occurred...but what?
Heh. Told ya there would be corruption in this eventually.
Below is what I found on the vessel. I am not familiar with Solchart Management.
IMO number : 8912792
Name of ship : ARCTIC SEA
Call Sign : 9HDN8
Gross tonnage : 3988
Type of ship : General Cargo Ship
Year of build : 1992
Flag : Malta
Status of ship : In Service
Last update : 2009-04-01
Following information is available :
>Safety management certificate
Company number Role Name of company Address Details
5136903 Registered owner ARCTIC SEA LTD Malta
5417068 ISM Manager SOLCHART ARKHANGELSK 77/1, ul Sovetskikh Kosmonavtov, Arkhangelsk Russia
5365599 Ship manager SOLCHART MANAGEMENT AB 7A, Kajaaninlinnantie, Helsinki Finland
Classification society Date of status Status Reason
Lloyd’s Register 2005-04-27 Withdrawn Transfer of class to another IACS member
Russian Maritime Register of Shipping 2005-04-11 Delivered
Classification society Date survey Date next survey Details
Russian Maritime Register of Shipping 2006-08-21 2011-08-21
Lloyd’s Register 2005-04-11
Did you read that NATO was helping to search for the ship, apparently? Made me think that something very important was suspected to be on the ship.
Both the scummy French and Russians were supporting the Hutu massacre in Rwanda, for instance.
The ship was heading to Africa.
Russia trades hugely in arms and shows no ethical support in what it sells.
So maybe the answer is to see what is happening or about to explode in Africa these days.
Further on Solchart, from Fairplay:
Sea Russians quiz Arctic Sea ‘owner’ THE FINNISH company on record as owning the missing Arctic Sea said its officials have been interrogated by Russian security investigators, Fairplay was told today. Nikolay Karpenkov, managing director of Solchart Arkhangelsk, said he answered questions from the special organs who demanded this information from me. When asked whether he had been questioned by the Federal Security Service (formerly KGB) or the prosecutor general, he replied no comment. The Arctic Sea is owned by Arctic Sea Malta, added Karpenkov, who refused to say how Solchart and the Maltese company are related, or who the beneficial owner is. In a separate interview with Fairplay yesterday, Karpenkov said the ship, as far as he was aware, had not sunk. Calculations of the amount of fuel the Arctic Sea was carrying to reach its intended destination of Algeria on 4 August, suggest the vessel could have reached a port in western Africa several days ago. Depending on its speed, the Arctic sea is unlikely to have much fuel left to continue underway in the Atlantic. Fairplay’s database also reveals that three sisterships of the Arctic Sea are reported to have capsized and been lost at sea, while a fourth capsized alongside a berth in West Africa. Karpenkov was asked to say how much fuel was loaded on the Arctic Sea in Finland, and what its voyage range was. He replied: No comment. Fairplay data indicates that the vessel has bunker capacity of 275 tonnes, with a daily operating consumption rate of 13 tonnes. If still under way at sea, the Arctic Sea is therefore close to fuel exhaustion, and must soon put into port or run out of fuel. http://directory
Thanks for the info. That actually corrects some information that I had been operating under. When the story first broke, I either read, heard or misunderstood that the operator was Finnlines, which is a large and legitimate shipping company.
This Solchart Management has "shady" written all over it. Which, actually deepens the mystery.
Apparently Solchart was incorporated on June 18, 2009.
More at this link:
What are the chances that three or four of the six ships you own get "lost at sea"? A loss rate of 50% - probably unheard since the days of Spanish Galleons.
When this first started to unfold, I was convinced that the Arctic Sea had found it's way to the bottom of the North Atlantic. It sounds like that may have been the plan all along.
I would certainly avoid sailing with them!!
“And the Russian government knows something fishy occurred...but what?”
Someone in the Russian govt knows exactly what happened. They however are having a hard time keeping a lid on as not everyone is in on it. Either that or they are incredibly inept. Perhaps a combination of both. Don't be surprised if the crew and the hijackers quietly disappear along with anyone else inconvenient to those pulling the strings.
You don’t send so many ships and subs to collect pirated lumber.
Not correct, the Russians had no clue abut the position of the vessel, they were informed by NATO.:
Military intelligence from NATO helped Russia track down the Arctic Sea freighter which went missing for some three weeks, Russias ambassador to NATO Dmitri Rogozin said. The help was made possible via new NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen after the two met in Brussels on August 11
Yevgeny Limarev, a former Russian security agent who is now a French-based consultant on Russian security affairs, said the Arctic Sea was likely at the center of a struggle between competing business and Kremlin clans in Moscow, and the Kremlin was forced to intervene to prevent an international scandal.
The pirates didn't realize that the United States still has an ocean surveillance system, and NATO countries have substantial maritime surveillance capability. Apparently the Arctic Sea was found and tracked shortly after it was reported missing about a week ago. It took several days for a Russian warship to reach the scene, and make the arrests. Thus there was no publicity for the tracking effort until the Arctic Sea crew were safe.
Crew members have told Russian news reporters that they have been told not to disclose “state secrets”, while well-informed Russian marine journalists have said they are now wary of commenting further on the case.
Even the suspects’ extensive tattoos - normally a reliable guide to identifying different sub-tribes of the Russian Mafia - have caused bafflement. “It is clear they are not our criminals, said Alexander Sidorov, the author of Russian Criminal Tattoos book, after examining TV footage.
I suspected as much. Any information on what are the goods in question? It is not about lumber, right?
Eyebrows were also raised after Russia brought back crew, suspects and investigators from Cape Verde aboard three huge Ilyushin-76 military transport planes when far smaller aircraft would have sufficed.
Russkies are hiding something.