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World Briefing / Russia

Officials knew where hijacked vessel was

August 19, 2009|TIMES WIRE REPORTS

The freighter Arctic Sea seemed to have vanished in the Atlantic Ocean's vastness, but officials said they knew where it was all along and kept quiet to bring a hijacking to a bloodless end.

A Russian naval vessel reached the Arctic Sea late Sunday near Cape Verde, thousands of miles from the Algerian port where it was to have docked Aug. 4. Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said Tuesday that eight suspected hijackers were in custody.

The Maritime Authority in Malta said in a statement that the vessel's movements "were always known for several days, notwithstanding reports that the ship had 'disappeared.' "

Authorities in Finland, Malta and Sweden had agreed "not to disclose any sensitive information in order not to jeopardize the life and safety of the persons on board and the integrity of the ship," the statement said. The ship left Pietarsaari, Finland, with a load of timber on July 21.

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