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Black Sea Fleet ships to search for ship lost in Atlantic

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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