Black Sea Fleet ships to search for ship lost in Atlantic
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Last Updated: Monday, August 10, 2009, 18:03
Moscow: Russia's Black Sea Fleet ships will enter the Atlantic Ocean in two days to search for the missing Arctic Sea vessel with Russian crew on board, a Defence Ministry official said Monday.

"At 23:00 Moscow time on Tuesday four ships of the Black Sea Fleet will pass the Strait of Gibraltar to enter the Atlantic Ocean and begin search operation of the Arctic Sea in the probable area of disaster," the official said.

Yesterday, Russian Navy's press service said the Navy command has analysed information on the Arctic Sea vessel that supposedly went missing off Portuguese coast.

The missing vessel was loaded with timber and prior to voyage it had been undergoing repairs in Kaliningrad for two weeks. The ship with the dead weight of 4,706 tonnes was to deliver timber to Algeria's port, Russia's edition Maritime Bulletin - Sovfracht web portal reported.

The Arctic Sea flying the flag of Malta has a fifteen-member crew. The ship underwent a mysterious attack by unknown people in the Baltic Sea off the Swedish island of Oland on July 24, the portal said.

The attackers kept the crew tied for twelve hours, during which they ransacked the ship in an attempt to find some cargo and then left the ship.

The contact with the Arctic Ship was lost on July 28, said Maritime Bulletin editor-in-chief Mikhail Voitenko.

"It is absolutely impossible to capture the ship in the European waters for some criminal purposes," he said. "If the ship is not hidden somewhere in Europe it may be anywhere within the range of 3,000-3,500 miles. So, communication set is switched off or destroyed and the ship is heading somewhere in the unknown direction."

Bureau Report

First Published: Monday, August 10, 2009, 18:03

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