Overnight Open Thread | Main | Top Headline Comments 1-31-11
January 31, 2011

Only in Russia: a riddle wrapped in an enigma and shrouded in mystery

Back in 2009 the cargo ship Arctic Sea mysteriously vanished and six men have been accused, and pleaded guilty, to hijacking it...but the story apparently isn't quite so simple.

...the circumstances surrounding their case are so murky, and the official version so implausible, that their relatives are convinced they were duped into covering up something the Russian government wants to remain secret...

...the alleged pirates claimed they had been hired to conduct temporary environmental work - gathering evidence of illegal pollution from ships - and were training on a rubber boat in the Baltic Sea when a storm blew them off course. They said they were rescued by the Arctic Sea...

...last year a handwritten letter allegedly penned by one of the jailed men - an unemployed roofer before the Arctic Sea incident - appealed to the international community to take concerns over pollution in the Baltic Sea seriously...

...Only a few crew members are taking part in the trial in Arkhangelsk. They've been barred from talking to reporters about the alleged hijacking...

...Mr Bartenev wonders why Russia is trying a case involving a ship registered in Malta, owned by a company in Finland, and alleged to have been intercepted in Swedish waters by residents of Estonia. He also wonders why the eight alleged hijackers and some of the crew - 16 people in all - were flown from Africa to Russia on two large Ilyushin-76 cargo planes capable of carrying 40 tons each, if not also to carry weapons or other illicit cargo...

I have no fracking idea what's really going on here, and the stock "hijack" story sounds pretty thin, but I'm certain there's a heck of a spook novel or award winning movie script here waiting to be written.
"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro" - HST


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posted by Purp at 06:11 AM

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