A Short Update on the Arctic Sea
It looks like the mystery of the Arctic Sea may never be solved. Whilst moored in a Finnish harbour around new year (it’s working again now), the captain found none of the alleged hijackers’ bullet holes inside the ship.
It was late last July when mysterious hijackers were supposed to have captured the ship. After a long and sometimes farcically complicated chase, Russian forces re-took the ship in August and arrested eight men for hijacking.
Russia maintains it was carrying timber to Algeria. Others say it was actually carrying anti-aircraft missiles to Iran, and that Israeli forces took the ship and struck a deal with Russia to make it look like they had rescued the ship in return for making it do an about turn. It seems Netanyahu most likely did make a hasty visit to Moscow, and Russia did have a contract to supply the missiles to Iran, which Israel strongly opposed. But Russia says its investigation, as yet shrouded in secrecy, will be full and transparent. It also firmly denies the arms shipment claims. Any revelations concerning this would of course be intensely embarrassing now that Russia has done that.
Time, and a wall of official silence, have now frozen the story. Whether it will be properly investigated is tough to say and anyone wanting to get to the bottom of it will most likely come to a dead end rather quickly. We may find out more if the ship is used in the future as a bargaining chip in negotiations or becomes part of a diplomatic row.
For now though, it seems this twisty turny high seas thriller has been dry docked. It looks like some official force has managed to relegate it to the place of a very diminutive footnote of 2009.