A ransom demand for the missing cargo ship, the Arctic Sea, has been received by the vessels owners according to police in Finland. But like most things connected to this unusual tale nobody knows how much is demanded or who sent it. Mystery still surrounds the whereabouts of the ship and the well being of its 15-man Russian crew.
The Maltese-registered craft vanished after passing through the English Channel and was last recorded off the coast of France near Brest. Finnish police chief Mikko Paatero said: “Well, actually the police cannot really speculate on anything. We need to base our investigations on existing criminal reports and in this case their are reports of hijacking and aggravated blackmail.”
Loaded with timber, the Arctic Sea sailed from Finland and had been due to dock in the Algerian port of Bejaia on August the 4th. The crew reported being borded and beaten by up to ten armed, masked men as the ship moved through the Baltic Sea on the 24th of July, but the group is said to have left the vessel 12 hours later by dinghy.
The strange case of the Arctic Sea has unsettled authorities in Europe and North Africa and explanations for its disappearance have included piracy, foul play or a secret cargo. Most maritime analysts believe the piracy scenario is least likely.