The company that operates the missing cargo ship Arctic Sea believes it has most probably been hijacked. The 4,000 tonne vessel has not been in contact with maritime authorities since passing through the Dover Strait between Britain and France at the end of July. Sailing from Finland to Algeria, the ship was boarded by a gang posing as police off the coast of Sweden.
Maria Lonegard of the Swedish National Police said: “(We had) no contact with the crew on the ship (at the time) but we have observations and witnesses. We are following the leads and we can confirm that something unusual did happen in the Baltic Sea because the ship did unusual turns, very sharp turns.” Authorities in Malta, where the ship is registered, say the Russian crew were assaulted and tied up. After passing Dover, maritime agencies lost contact with the vessel’s electronic identification beacon. Questions are now being asked about why security forces took so long to react, and how an apparently hijacked carrier could pass unchallenged through one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.