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CURRENT ISSUE

ARM MERCHANT SHIPS?
Should merchant ships transiting high risk areas carry small arms for defense against pirates?

Selected crew should be trained and have guns available
Professional armed security teams should be hired
No guns on merchant ships, ever

August 19, 2009

More details of Arctic Sea case emerge

With eight suspected hijackers now in Russian custody, additional information about the Arctic Sea incident continues to come to light.

The Malta Maritime Authority said in a statement today that the position of the Arctic Sea had been known "for several days" prior to its interception by the Russian Navy, however there was consensus among the investigating authorities not to disclose any sensitive information so as not to jeopardize the life and safety of those on board, or the integrity of the ship.

Russia's ambassador to NATO said that Russia had put out misinformation on what it knew about the ship's position. A Swedish police spokesman said that it had chosen not to disclose all it knew.

More information has also emerged about the ransom demand made in the case. The Moscow Times quotes a spokeswoman for the ship's insurer, Renessans Strakhovaniye as saying that an unknown caller had phoned on August 3 and threatened to kill the crew and sink the vessel if a $1.5 million ransom was not paid. The caller spoke in English.

Bloomberg reports that the Swedish Shipowners' Association has told its members that while the July 24 hijacking was probably an isolated incident, it could inspire copycat attacks. It's told members that the security procedures they use in the Gulf of Aden should be observed everywhere.


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