The Saga of the Arctic Sea Continues

The Arctic Sea has gone missing again, though this time under Russian control and presumably heading for Russian port. Spain never let the ship into Las Palmas due to the presence of military personnel on board.

Meanwhile, although 11 of the 15 Russian crew members were eventually released, the remaining 4 are still on board the Arctic Sea — and according to their wives, being held captive there:

Captain Sergei Zaretsky and three crew members have not been allowed off the Arctic Sea more than a month after a Russian warship seized the vessel from eight suspected pirates.

Their wives appealed to the International Red Cross and the governments of Spain, Malta, Finland and Russia to intervene, saying that the men were in poor health two months after the Arctic Sea was supposedly boarded by an armed gang in the Baltic Sea.

I can’t figure out exactly what sort of help the crews’ wives are asking for, but at any rate they are very unlikely to receive it.

Back in Russia, the lawyers for the hijackers are now portraying this as some sort of National Lampoon’s Russian Spring Break. The hijackers — ecologists, in reality — got their boat swamped, and the Arctic Sea just happened to be passing by. The crew of the Arctic Sea offered them a lift, and they all then sailed down to Cape Verde, cavorting in the sun and playing in their pool. The poor ecologists had no idea the ship was missing or even that they were now off the coast of Africa, except that it was getting “warmer,” so they assumed they’d sailed south. Alleged hijacker Dmitry Bartenev, on crew-pirate relations:

“The crew were very friendly. When they realised we were Russians, they took us to the saloon bar and cracked open a bottle of vodka. There was a lot of booze on the Arctic Sea: whisky and strong alcohol of all kinds.”