Russia giving out little information on Arctic Sea mystery
Finnish investigators may go to Russia
Russia has been forthcoming with fairly little information on the hijacking of the Arctic Sea cargo vessel, even though officials have been questioning both the suspected hijackers and the member of the crew for several days.
The Arctic Sea, with a load of Finnish lumber, was hijacked last month while en route from the Finnish port of Pietarsaari to Algeria.
The hijacking was ended by the Russian Navy a week ago Monday and the hijackers and part of the crew were flown to Moscow on Thursday, where they were taken to the Lefortovo remand prison.
The Finnish National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has not received any information on why the crew was also being held, and if they were suspected of wrongdoing.
Russian prosecutors said during the weekend that the crew had been placed in custody, because they needed protection as witnesses.
NBI investigators have not yet travelled to Russia to make their own inquiries, but that may change soon.
“That is quite possible”, said Rabbe von Hertzen of the NBI, commenting on a possible investigative trip.
The NBI is also interested in the ship itself, which Russia says is going to Novorossijsk on the Black Sea for investigation.
“It is a crime scene, and in that respect, it is interesting. In addition, it has a load, with Algeria as its destination, and a company here has an interest in it.”
Estonia has joined the Arctic Sea international investigation team, along with Finland, Sweden, and Malta. The NBI believes that this will ease the exchange of information linked with the investigation, because the suspected hijackers include Estonia citizens or residents. The EU’s police organisation Europol is also taking part in the investigation.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Russian Navy rescues Arctic Sea crew near Cape Verde (18.8.2009)
Arctic Sea: Freed Russian seamen questioned in remand prison (21.8.2009)
Arctic Sea crew members and hijackers flown from Cape Verde to Moscow (20.8.2009)
Russia detains eight hijacking suspects on Arctic Sea (19.8.2009)