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Thread: Was "hijacked" Russian ship carrying weapons?

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    Was "hijacked" Russian ship carrying weapons?

    FT.com / Comment / Analysis - Vexed voyage

    In Arkhangelsk, a Russian shipping town on the edge of the White Sea where most of the adult male population are sailors, whispers persist that the strange circumstances behind the vessel’s disappearance and its interception must mean it was carrying a secret cargo, most likely weapons.

    Prosecutors have gagged the 11 members of the crew that have returned home to Arkhangelsk. “No one will speak to you here,” says one local entrepreneur. “Everyone fears for their jobs. Don’t dig too deeply or they will come at you from the side.”

    Questions surround why the Russian government, after a wait of more than 10 days, sent three battleships and a frigate to hunt down the ship and then brought back the 11 as well as the alleged hijackers in enormous military aircraft normally used for transporting armoured vehicles and troops. The Malta-registered ship was officially carrying only €1.3m ($1.9m, £1.2m) worth of timber.

    The US and UK governments are believed to have classified information about the incident, which appeared to cause a flurry of diplomatic activity between Israel and Russia. Some suspect the Arctic Sea may have been carrying S-300s, the Russian missile defence system equivalent to the US Patriot, or long-range Kh-55 missiles to Iran. Russia strongly denies the ship was carrying weapons.


    Something very strange happened with this ship last August, and none of the key players are saying anything.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 10-04-09 at 10:49 PM.
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    Re: Was "hijacked" Russian ship carrying weapons?

    Well, that story certainly makes it look like something in particular, but that's not much to go on.
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    Re: Was "hijacked" Russian ship carrying weapons?

    Quote Originally Posted by Harshaw View Post
    Well, that story certainly makes it look like something in particular, but that's not much to go on.
    That's true; it's all speculation at this point. But the circumstances of it - the "hijacking" in the Baltic Sea which is almost unheard of, the secret meetings between Netanyahu and Medvedev, and the fact that the Russian government has been so tight-lipped about this - does indeed point to some sort of weapons sale. I really can't think of any other explanation that fits with the evidence.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 10-04-09 at 11:15 PM.
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    Re: Was "hijacked" Russian ship carrying weapons?

    I wouldn't want to go too far into the weeds without knowing more, but if that's true -- and they went through the charade of a "hijacking" to cover it -- this is one of the more significant stories going on in the world right now.
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    Re: Was "hijacked" Russian ship carrying weapons?

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    Re: Was "hijacked" Russian ship carrying weapons?

    Quote Originally Posted by Harshaw View Post
    I wouldn't want to go too far into the weeds without knowing more, but if that's true -- and they went through the charade of a "hijacking" to cover it -- this is one of the more significant stories going on in the world right now.
    Ya. I don't know what happened, but whatever it was, it can't have gone the way Russia had hoped. If the original "hijacking" was a charade to put weapons on the ship, then whoever was in charge badly miscalculated. That sort of thing just calls more attention to the ship...especially when it occurs in a place where piracy is virtually non-existent, such as Sweden.

    And I still haven't heard any plausible explanation for why the ship disappeared AGAIN off the coast of Portugal. What were they doing in Cape Verde, which is nowhere near the ship's planned route?

    The article raises another interesting possibility. Perhaps the Swedish "hijackers" were not Russians adding weapons to the cargo, but US/UK officials (or someone affiliated with them) looking to bust Russia for the weapons cache that was already on board:

    Mr Surikov says he believes that when the the ship was boarded in the dead of night on July 24 off Sweden, the attackers found the weapons cache, photographed it as evidence and left.

    His scenario fits with initial reports conveyed by police in Sweden that the crew reported being attacked by about 10 men posing as Swedish policemen who searched the ship and departed in an inflatable dinghy.

    The photos were then shown, thinks Mr Surikov, to the UK and US security services – which arranged a second incursion as the Arctic Sea disappeared on August 1. “A behind-the-scenes trade between state powers then began,” he says.

    Whatever it is, it's certainly a bizarre course of events, and the governments in question are all keeping the secret pretty well.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 10-05-09 at 01:25 AM.
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    Re: Was "hijacked" Russian ship carrying weapons?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post

    The article raises another interesting possibility. Perhaps the Swedish "hijackers" were not Russians adding weapons to the cargo, but US/UK officials (or someone affiliated with them) looking to bust Russia for the weapons cache that was already on board:

    Whatever it is, it's certainly a bizarre course of events, and the governments in question are all keeping the secret pretty well.
    Or perhaps they were not hijackers; or even humans... Perhaps they were green aliens... It is a mystery.

    It is also a mystery why would official Russia take weapons to Iran via Baltic sea and around Europe when Russia ships its cargo to Iran across Caspian sea that is shielded from everyones eyes and not a distance at all.

    And if it was private weapons shipment then why it was so clumsily hijacked and by whom?

    And if there were any weapons why "According to Central Criminal Police of Finland, statements regarding weapons cargo on Artcic Sea are speculative. Criminal Commissioner Rabbe von Hertzen, heading an investigation into the matter in Finland said that the CCP has no information concerning the cargo of arms, ...

    Rabbe von Hertzen said that the investigation conducted jointly by Sweden, Malta, Estonia and Latvia, in cooperation with Russia, on the basis of daily consultations. The group's task is to find out what happened on board and what are the motives of the seizure of the vessel, including blackmail, extortion and kidnapping. EU officials have not question the crew of the vessel and the hijackers, however, this issue will be addressed after reading the files of questioning, conducted in Russia. Hertzen believes that the investigation will take several months." http://yle.fi/uutiset/ulkomaat/2009/...in_981574.html

    "Arctic Sea came from Kaliningrad in Pietarsaari on July 20. It began to load only in the second half of the day, according to the operator of the port Pauli Rautiainen. According to him, holds of the vessel were empty at the beginning of loading". http://www.iltalehti.fi/ulkomaat/200...80208_ul.shtml


    Why? What? Who? How? -- we may never know.

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    Re: Was "hijacked" Russian ship carrying weapons?

    Quote Originally Posted by Elena View Post
    Or perhaps they were not hijackers; or even humans... Perhaps they were green aliens... It is a mystery.
    Well SOMETHING obviously happened, as the crew reported being hijacked and released, then disappeared two weeks later, then turned up two weeks later in Cape Verde (far away from their planned route). So dismissing it as "green aliens" isn't going to fly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elena
    It is also a mystery why would official Russia take weapons to Iran via Baltic sea and around Europe when Russia ships its cargo to Iran across Caspian sea that is shielded from everyones eyes and not a distance at all.
    Maybe the weapons were for Hezbollah. Who knows?

    Quote Originally Posted by Elena
    And if it was private weapons shipment then why it was so clumsily hijacked and by whom?
    Good question. This is the part that seems the most baffling to me. I think it's more likely that the "hijackers" were affiliated with some other government (possibly the US, UK, or Israel since they seem to have information about the shipment) who were collecting evidence.

    If they were intentionally adding weapons during the "hijacking," I don't think the crew would have reported it at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elena
    And if there were any weapons why "According to Central Criminal Police of Finland, statements regarding weapons cargo on Artcic Sea are speculative. Criminal Commissioner Rabbe von Hertzen, heading an investigation into the matter in Finland said that the CCP has no information concerning the cargo of arms, ...
    Hard to tell. I suppose drugs are another possibility, although that's probably less likely given the destination of the cargo and the diplomatic secrecy between Medvedev and Netanyahu.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elena
    Rabbe von Hertzen said that the investigation conducted jointly by Sweden, Malta, Estonia and Latvia, in cooperation with Russia, on the basis of daily consultations. The group's task is to find out what happened on board and what are the motives of the seizure of the vessel, including blackmail, extortion and kidnapping. EU officials have not question the crew of the vessel and the hijackers, however, this issue will be addressed after reading the files of questioning, conducted in Russia. Hertzen believes that the investigation will take several months." http://yle.fi/uutiset/ulkomaat/2009/...in_981574.html

    "Arctic Sea came from Kaliningrad in Pietarsaari on July 20. It began to load only in the second half of the day, according to the operator of the port Pauli Rautiainen. According to him, holds of the vessel were empty at the beginning of loading". http://www.iltalehti.fi/ulkomaat/200...80208_ul.shtml


    Why? What? Who? How? -- we may never know.
    Ya, hopefully some more information will leak out as the investigation progresses. But it's possible that no one who wasn't involved in the incident will ever know.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 10-05-09 at 05:01 PM.
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    Re: Was "hijacked" Russian ship carrying weapons?

    Some mysteries should stay a mystery.
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