Arctic Sea ship commentator in Turkey after fleeing Russia

A top European Union official said Israel may have been behind the missing of cargo ship Arctic Sea.

Arctic Sea ship commentator in Turkey after fleeing Russia

A Russian maritime expert said on Thursday he had fled the country after accusing the Russian authorities of being involved in the mysterious high-seas disappearance of the Arctic Sea ship.

"Some influential people called me and ... advised me to leave Russia within several hours," Mikhail Voitenko, editor of Russia's respected Sovfracht maritime journal, told Reuters by telephone from Turkey.

"I am afraid of being detained (in Russia)." He said the callers did not identify themselves.

The Maltese-registered Arctic Sea, officially carrying timber from Russia to Algeria, was boarded by a group of eight men on July 24.

Its whereabouts were a mystery for weeks until Russian warships intercepted it off Cape Verde in the Atlantic Ocean on Aug. 17.

Charges of kidnapping and piracy have been brought against eight men -- citizens of Estonia, Latvia and Russia -- last week in Moscow.

Prosecutors maintained the ship was carrying timber.

While the ship was still missing, Voitenko caused an international storm by saying the ship was carrying illegal weapons.

Speaking to Reuters on Thursday, he said: "They warned me, saying they didn't want another scandal."

He rejected a comment made by his journal on its website, www.sovfracht.ru, that he had not fled but rather gone on a business trip to Istanbul.

"Sovfrakht simply doesn't want any problems connected to me," he said.

Last week Russia's top general said the military would search the 97-metre (318 ft), 4,000 dwt ship for any possible secret cargo.

The missing ship made headlines around the world, because its initial disappearance raised talk of a spread of piracy into European waters for the first time in centuries.

A top European Union official said Israel may have been behind the missing of cargo ship Arctic Sea.



Agencies












Last Mod: 04 Eylül 2009, 14:03
Add Comment