Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

Germany's World Cup title

Read more

FASHION

Paris, Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2014-2015

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Farnborough air show takes off but F-35 jet is grounded

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Bastille Day celebrations

Read more

TOUR DE TECH

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola death toll increases in Sierra Leone

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Finally, a good use for new app "Yo"

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Viviane Reding, MEP, European People's Party

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Schulz returns to Parliament presidency: back to business as usual?

Read more

  • Live: France celebrates Bastille Day

    Read more

  • In pictures: 2014 World Cup historic moments

    Read more

  • Boules and booze: Bastille Day à la New Yorkaise

    Read more

  • Kremlin mulls 'retaliatory strikes' after death of Russian civilian

    Read more

  • Senegal honours the soldiers who fought for France in WWI

    Read more

  • Clashes erupt in Paris as thousands march to support Palestinians

    Read more

  • Operations underway to refloat shipwrecked Costa Concordia

    Read more

  • Germany defeat Argentina 1-0 to win fourth World Cup title

    Read more

  • Paris’s Bastille Day fireworks ‘a homage to victims’ of WWI

    Read more

  • Thousands flee northern Gaza after Israeli warning

    Read more

  • Major differences remain as deadline looms in Iran nuclear talks

    Read more

  • Rival Libyan militias exchange heavy fire at Tripoli airport

    Read more

  • French military to extend Mali 'counterterrorism' operations into Sahel

    Read more

  • Legendary conductor Lorin Maazel dies aged 84

    Read more

Europe

'Missing ship' was carrying arms for Iran, Russian expert claims

©

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-09-07

A Russian maritime expert who claimed the ship Arctic Sea - which went missing and was subsequently recaptured from 'pirates' by the Russian navy - was carrying missiles destined for Iran, has fled Russia fearing reprisals.

AFP - A Russian maritime expert who said a cargo ship reported missing en route to Africa had been carrying weapons said on Thursday he had fled the country after being threatened.

 

"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. Their lawyers had called them "peaceful ecologists".

 

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. Describing the situation as "cloak and dagger stuff", he had said the state was most likely involved.

 

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, both because of the talk about it carrying weapons to the Middle East and because its initial disappearance raised talk of a spread of piracy into European waters for the first time in centuries.

 

Date created : 2009-09-07

Comments

COMMENT(S)