Iran launches new missile boat

Commander of the Iranian Army's Navy Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyarisaid on 29 Sep that Iran's new Sina-class missile-launching frigates enjoy the most advanced systems and equipment. Iran claims Sina has more than a hundred radar, artillery, electronic and telecommunication systems and is also equipped with modern navigation systems.

The web is more reserved:
Iran purchased 12 Combattante II missile boats from France, seeing them delivered between 1974 and 1981. These 275 ton displacement boats, officially named Kaman in Iranian service, have a top speed of 37.5 knots. They represented some of Iran's most modern vessels of Western origin. Two were lost in combat, one to Iraqi forces in 1980 and another to US forces in 1988.

The main armament of these ships was in the form of a four round missile launcher and a 76mm OTO-Melara automatic cannon. The anti-ship missiles were originally the RGM-84 Harpoon, but have since been replaced by the locally produced Noor, a license produced copy of the Chinese C-802 missile.

These missile boats remained an important part of the Iranian naval forces as of 2008, and had led to earlier developments announced in 2003 to develop a locally produced version. The first of these Sina Class missile boats, essentially locally produced Iranian versions of the Kaman, standard with C-802 missiles and an improved fire control radar, entered service in 2006. Iran had two of these boats in service by 2008, with another in production[now launched]. These boats appear identical to the modified Kamans with the exception of the radar radome.


Master shot dead: Pirates scared away by rescue

MV Barwaaqo attacked in Mogadishu, Somalia: "We send police when commercial ships draw near the port but the pirates were already on board and opened fire injuring one policeman but were eventually scared away by a rescue effort."


Arctic Sea: a floating object?

Viktor Matveyev, Solchart Finland, the reputed manager of the Arctic Sea claims on its website that this statement comes from Las Palmas. Gran Canaria:

The free translation of the Port Captain decision.

1) vessel has Russian Military armed on board

2) Vessel is custody by the Russian Army units out of Spanish
territorial waters, its mean that vessel has been taken by this authority as
the Malta state does not recover their protection.

3) Due to the previous 2nd paragraph, the flag state control ( Malta) must foce the vessel to comply with the article 94 (bargain of unit nations) agreed in Montego Bay Dec. 10th 1.982. and specially in what respect to the security of the persons on board, navigation and see waters medium. Due to that and taking in consideration that vessel has not flag state and did not comply with other mentioned requisites, we do not consider to Artic Sea like a merchant vessel but like a floating object taken by the foreign naval army.

In view of that, the Port Captain does not authorize the navigation of
Arctic Sea in Spanish sea waters.

Sounds like Viktor Matveyev is preparing his defense against Finnish/Baltic Powers charges


Panama-flagged BARWAAQO's Master Dead

SOMALI pirates yesterday killed a Syrian master who refused to divert from his planned course after they boarded the ship close to Mogadishu. Three crew members were also injured in a subsequent shoot-out. The Somali-owned ship Panama-flag BARWAAQO was carrying shipment from Dubai.

* MMSI: 353219000
* IMO: 7229411
Year Built: 1972
DeadWeight: 7849 t
Speed recorded (Max / Average): 8.2 / 5.8 knots
* Call sign: 3FTR6
* Flag: Panama

Vessel's Names Flag Call Sign Last Recorded
BARWAAQO Panama 3FTR6 2009-09-09 01:37
EAST CASTLE St Vincent Grenadines J8B2837 2009-04-05 01:31

EAST CASTLE, Varna 18-02-2006
Built:1972,Hollming Oy,Rauma, Finland
Ivan Gorthon-81
Agios Mattheos-88
Blue Stone-03


Arctic Sea: 'evidence' transferred to 'warship'

Gray vessel, possibly part of the bunkering fleet of the Laskaridis family in Eastern Europe
IMAN - Bitumen Tanker - Ex:Dalnerechensk. Build: 1986 Rauma-Repola. 6,237 dwt. Owners: Laskarides Shipping

...or maybe Russian military tanker, 'warship'

Item: Viktor Matveev, the director of Solchart Management which owns the Arctic Sea, told Russian daily Komsomolskaya Pravda on Tuesday that the Port Authority of Las Palmas did not allow the cargo ship to enter the harbour because 11 Russian military men were on the vessel.
However, according to an Interfax source in Russian law enforcement bodies, the Arctic Sea has been denied access to the port because it has not paid the necessary fees to the Spanish maritime authorities.

“The fact that the military are on board plays no role in this case. A vessel is only considered as having a military status if it carries the flag of a certain country,”

Solchart website Finland: " The vessel has to be securely exploited by the specialists (11 navy sailors do not pose to be these specialists) of the crew size not less than that indicated in the Minimum Crew Certificate, granted by the Flag Administration."


Arctic Sea: 'Evidence' off-loaded to military tanker

The Russian Navy's Iman tanker will deliver material evidence from the Arctic Sea vessel to the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk in October, a high-ranking military official said on Sep. 21. "The arrival of the warship [Finnish built Aksay type tanker] in the port of Novorossiisk is scheduled for mid-October."

6617427 IMAN Tanker 4471 1966 Russia

DNo: 6617427 Year: 1966
Name: IMAN Launch Date: 3.6.66
Type: Tanker Date of completion:
Flag: RUS Keel:
Tons: 3359 Link: 1875
DWT: 4400 Yard No: 155
Length overall: 105.1 Ship Design:
LPP: 96.9 Country of build: FIN
Beam: 14.8 Builder: Rauma-Repola
Material of build: Location of yard: Rauma

Item: The 'company representative' from the management of Solchart in Finland that was denied access to the Arctic Sea off the Canaries, was Russian-based 'the shipping company’s representative from Solchart’s office in Arkhangelsk.'

Item: At last report, Solchart never filed an insurance claim. "At this point, there is, fortunately, no need to file an insurance claim because we still do not know where the ship and its crew are located," the official said without disclosing the amount the vessel was insured for.


Arctic Sea: nature of the cargo was the key

Las Palmas harbour master, under instruction from the Spanish government, rejected the request," of the Arctic Sea and its tug to dock. A Spanish diplomat admitted that the nature of the cargo was the key question in talks between Spain and Russia. "The ship's cargo is the most important aspect of the negotiations. It is not just about bureaucratic procedures involving the entrance of a ship into Spanish waters," the diplomat said.

Arctic Sea: Do not need to stop at Las Palmas

"Russian authorities have just informed us that they do not need the Arctic Sea to stop in Spain, in Las Palmas," a Spanish foreign ministry source told AFP.

Arctic Sea: evidence removed by Russians

Maltese statement: With reference to claims in the press that the ship was due to be handed over to the Maltese Authorities, Malta as the flag State of the ship, has always maintained that it has no right to assume the ownership of the ship since it is not the rightful owner of the ship and therefore the ship should be handed over to the shipowner as the rightful owner of the ship.

Russian statement
via Indian press:On Sep. 17 evidence from the Arctic Sea ship was transshipped onto Russian frigate Ladny , as mystery still surrounded the identity of its cargo one month after it was recovered from alleged pirates.

Russian investigators said evidence that showed the vessel was prey to piracy, including arms and masks, was now on its way to Russia for use in a trial against the suspected hijackers.

"The evidence will be delivered to a Russian port, where the warship Ladny and its escorting vessels will dock," the investigative committee said in a statement posted on its website.

"It includes ammunition used by the suspected pirates to capture the ship and the speedboat from which they boarded it.

The boat was camouflaged on board the Arctic Sea under a wood frame and canvass," it said.

Arctic Sea: Who is in charge here?

Malta insists that the responsibility of the Arctic Sea ship rests with its owners and not with the flag country. It is not the owner of the ship and therefore cannot assume the full responsibility for it, including preparation of documents for the ship’s port call. It contacted the owners of the freighter and told them that the vessel cannot continue sailing until it undergoes the needed repairs, examination and certification. It should be certified that the Arctic Sea ship meets all the navigation requirements.
Investigative Committee of the Russian Prosecutor General's Office spokesman, Vladimir Markin, described Malta's refusal to take part in the handover of the ship as "inconsistent and illogical," and said it ran counter to the international convention on the law of the sea. Spain's Foreign Ministry held intensive talks with Russian and Maltese ambassadors on Sep. 16 and on Sep. 17 morning. Spanish authorities gave permission for the Arctic Sea, the Ladny frigate, which freed the cargo vessel from hijackers, and a Russian tug boat to call at Las Palmas on Sep 15, but cancelled the decision on Sep. 16 without giving any explanation after Malta refused to take part in the handover of the ship, at the Spanish port.

The ship is registered in the Maltese port of Valletta.
The Arctic Sea is primarily owned by a Malta-based company, Arctic Sea Ltd. which is owned by Oy White Sea Ltd. According to the Finnish Trade Registry, Victor Matveev (Viktor Matvejev), a Russian citizen living in Finland holds 70 per cent of Oy White Sea Ltd’s shares. The rest are owned by two other Russian men living in Finland. The rest of the ship may well by owned by Solchart Askhangelsk Ltd of Finland, since it claims ownership of the ship in an article by Cristina Batog, a graduate of Georgetown University, specializing in Russia and Eastern Europe quoting director and assistant director Nikolai Karpenkov and Ivan Boiko in Askhangelsk, Russia. Arctic Sea's captain is 50-year-old Sergei Zaretsky. He has remained in charge on the vessel with three others although the crew was repatriated to Russia and professionally interrogated. He is said to have claimed that the vessel was really North Korean and loaded with palm oil. His wife, Yelena Zaretskaya, at last report had not heard from him.


Arctic Sea: no handover of the ship

Spanish authorities gave permission for the Arctic Sea, the Ladny frigate, which freed the cargo vessel from hijackers, and a Russian tug boat to call at Las Palmas on Sep 15, but cancelled the decision on Sep. 16 without giving any explanation after Malta refused to take part in the handover of the ship, at the Spanish port.


Arctic Sea: Permission to dock slow in coming

A Spanish ministry spokesman denied that Madrid had refused a formal request from Russia to allow the ship to enter the Canary Islands port. "It is not the case that the request from Russian authorities has been rejected. However, no decision has been taken to authorise the Arctic Sea to enter Spanish waters," the spokesman said, as reported on Sep.17.

Solchart files for bankruptcy

Director of Solchart, the beneficial owner of Arctic Sea, Matveev Victor reports woefully:

Members of the committee, neither the crew do not answer the phone calls. Understanding uselessness of the presence of our representative in Las Palmas and full ignorance of our interests and concerns about the future of the vessel, cargo and the Company he was forced to return home on 11th of September. Maltese delegation also left Las Palmas on 11th of September. Since then we do not have any information about the future of the vessel.
As the consequence of such set of events, also after 17th of September, the ship-owner Company has become bankrupt. This also implies that for further exploitation of the vessel it is required to find funds in order to bring the vessel into the working condition and provide it with all the necessities, and also in order to settle accounts with the creditors. We were ready and were doing more than required in this kind of situation from what the ship-owner can and should do.

Liberian-flag Elli hogged - broke apart

M/T ELLI (Liberia, 54880gt), Yemen to Suez in ballast, hogged severely in the Red Sea near Suez Canal. All 24-crew was taken ashore safely 28-August-2009. The tanker was towed and beached.
The former Howard Smith/RW Miller fuel tanker broke apart about 15 nautical miles from the port of Taufiq while awaiting a berth. The vessel was once known as Canopus before being sold to Liquimar of Greece in 1996 and renamed. Worldwide Green Tankers is said to manage a fleet of seven tankers. Brokers reported that the company purchased the vessel from Liquimar Tankers in December 2007 in an en bloc deal which included a sister tanker, the Frixos.

# Name: M T ELLI
# MMSI: 370298000
# IMO: 8420206
# Call sign: 3FND7
# Flag: Liberia
# Vesseltype: Tanker
# Width: 46 m
# Length: 230 m

DRAFT................12.17 M..13.6 M SUMMER.
SPEED................14.3 KNOTS.

Irene E.M.: helicopter brought ransom

Irene E.M. ex: Maria C.K.

"We already left the vessel

Irene E.M. (Ex:Maria C.K.)

and now we are dividing our money. A helicopter brought the cash this morning."

Arctic Sea: no dark spots in this story

"The government of Malta and the ship's owner, Arctic Sea LTD Malta, have been notified that the transfer of the Arctic Sea will take place from September 17 through September 18 in the port of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in Spain's Canary Islands with the participation of Spanish officials," ..."This is why we need to examine the vessel — so that there are no dark spots in this story." said federal Investigative Committee Chief Alexander Bastrykin earlier.


VC-flagged Irene E.M ransomed and released

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines bulk carrier Irene EM, registered owner, Venetico Marine S.A., beneficial: Anral Shipping Ltd. Greece, 21-Filipino crew have been released by Somali pirates following payment of a ransom of $2m, which represents a reduction on the earlier demand for $2.8m

Arctic Sea on the move with 'warship'

The Russian embassy in Madrid had requested and received permission for the Arctic Sea, which is being towed by a tug under the escort of a warship, to call at the port of Las Palmas, adding that the convoy was 14 miles off the coast and should arrive closer to evening, a Spanish marine spokesperson said.


Arctic Sea, four of crew never brought home

Four original crew members, all Russians, remain on board the small Turkish-built, maltese-flag vessel of a Russian-owned Finnish company, now located 16 nautical miles off Gran Canaria. More exactly, it is owned by a Malta-based company, Arctic Sea Ltd., belonging to a Finnish company Oy White Sea Ltd. This company is owned and run by Victor Matveev (Viktor Matvejev) a Russian citizen living in Finland. Matvejev is also the CEO and a major shareholder with Vladimir Voronov, a Russian citizen living in Finland, of Oy Solchart Management Ab, a Finnish company that manages the Arctic Sea's cargo operations. Victor Karpenkov is the Arkhangelsk [Russia]-based manager of the Russian division of Solchart.


Arctic Sea located 16 nautical miles off Las Palmas

A Maltese team composed of police officers and officials from the Malta Maritime Authority boarded the Arctic Sea Sep. 11 to carry out a maritime safety investigation into the ship in parallel with a law enforcement one, the MMA said.

The MMA said that an agreement was reached between the Russian and Maltese authorities for a Maltese team to join the Russian investigative team who boarded the Arctic Sea on Sep 07.

The ship is currently under the control of the Russian authorities and is located 16 nautical miles off Las Palmas.

The Maltese flagged ship is owned by a Finnish company whose inspectors were yesterday stopped by Russian soldiers from boarding the ship.

Three Russian Il-76 transport plans (each capable of carrying 44 tons of cargo) were used to bring in the crew and suspected hijackers (or two or eight?).

Israel's deputy prime minister confirmed on Saturday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had visited Russia but declined to elaborate on the affair, which has triggered media accusations of official disinformation.

"He was in Russia. It created some controversy about the way it was published in Israel," Dan Meridor told Reuters in Geneva on the sidelines of a conference about global issues hosted by Britain's International Institute for Strategic Studies.

"The content was not discussed in public. Some things are better discussed (privately)," added Meridor, who is also Minister of Intelligence and Atomic Energy.


Arctic Sea: Not in a position to tell you anything

Each year recently, according to AIS [Automatic Identification System] records, the Arctic Sea appears to be missing from the logs in the Mediterranean for up to 20 days at a time. In April this year, the Arctic Sea is missing from AIS port-call records between April 1, when it transited the Gibraltar Straits, moving east, and April 11, when it returned through the straits, moving west. Reporting by John Helmer,
A similar gap in the log records appeared a year earlier, between February 13, 2008, when the Arctic Sea sailed east past Gibraltar into the Mediterranean, and 20 days later, on March 4, when it transited the Gibraltar Straits moving west.
In 2007, the gap in the logs appears between April 26, when the vessel entered the Mediterranean, and May 14, when it exited. In all cases, the vessel appears to have taken on cargo at Loviisa and Kotka (Finland), and Tallinn (Estonia).

In Helsinki, two of the registered owners of the Solchart group, Victor Matveyev and Vladimir Voronov, were also asked to say where the Arctic Sea was during the three "missing" periods identified by AIS. Voronov said: "I am not in a position to tell you anything", and referred calls to Matveyev. Asked twice to identify the ports of call in the three periods, Matveyev hung up the telephone without answering.


Arctic Sea in Las Palmas

Solchart's chief executive Viktor Matveyev said Solchart's representative, currently in Las Palmas, had tried to board the Arctic Sea on the morning of Sep. 10 but Russian soldiers had stopped him.
The Russian prosecutor's office told Russian news agency Interfax that the ship would be handed over to Maltese authorities in Las Palmas, in Spain's Canary Islands, once the investigation was completed.

Arctic Sea: shipment of missiles aborted

Israeli officials have been forced to admit that Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, made a secret trip to Moscow. Reports suggested that S-300 surface-to-air missiles were being shipped on the Arctic Sea but shipment had been aborted after it came to the attention of Mossad, the Israeli secret service. Russia is said to have had a commitment to Israel that would not sell any weapons to Israel’s enemies that could shift the regional balance of power.

Arctic Sea never left Islands

Russian defense officials said September 10 that the Arctic Sea will be handed over to Malta, and the Ladny frigate will return to its Black Sea Fleet base in Sevastopol, Crimea, and that both ships are now in one of the ports on the Canary Islands. RIA Novosti

Authorities previously said the "Arctic Sea" would arrive in the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk in mid-September.


Arctic Sea: piracy story was a cover

A senior figure close to Israeli intelligence told the BBC that the piracy story was a cover and that Israel told Moscow it was giving officials time to stop the shipment before making the matter public.
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, added that he had no information about any visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secretly to Moscow.

Arctic Sea: Task Force to access crew?

"The investigation is going on and it will take some time before we have concluded," says Jan-Olof Nyholm, detective superintendent at Finland’s Centralkriminalpolisen, Finland's National Bureau of Investigation, and a spokesman for the four-nation, [Sweden, Finland, Estonia and Malta], Helsinki-based police task force investigating the case. When asked if the task force has had access to the crew and hijackers as yet, he stated emphatically, "I think we'll make some progress here."

Arctic Sea: Netanyahu to Moscow? meets Putin ?

According to the reports, Netanyahu and Putin discussed arms deals between Russia and Iran and the kidnapping of the "Arctic Sea" vessel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's mysterious 'disappearance' for about 10 hours on Sep. 07 could be explained with a secret visit to Russia. The purpose of the quick trip was to discuss the sale of weapons to Iran with Russian officials. In particular, they discussed the sale of S-300 anti-missile batteries that the ayatollah's regime intends to deploy to protect its nuclear sites, in order to protect them from possible Israeli attacks to destroy the Islamic Republic's future possibility of acquiring nuclear warheads. Netanyahu, accompanied by his national security adviser and a military aide, boarded a chartered plane in a secluded area of Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion airport on Monday and flew to Russia, returning late at night. Spokesmen for Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said the two leaders did not meet Netanyahu on Monday, but did not explicitly deny that the visit took place.


" S-300 on board the Arctic Sea ...a complete lie,"

"The presence of S-300 on board the Arctic Sea cargo ship is a complete lie,"
Russia has until recently delayed the implementation of a 2007 deal with Iran on the supply of S-300s. The contract is worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Speaking in Moscow, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov dismissed media speculation about S-300 missiles on board the Arctic Sea as "groundless"; reports that the ship had illegal arms on board were "absolutely untrue".

"The best means to apply outside pressure on Iran's decision-making process lie not in isolating Tehran or threats of resorting to force, but in involving it in an important international cooperation."

But see The ministry said that, when the ship was intercepted, its captain claimed it was the North Korean vessel Chendin-2, and was headed from Havana to Sierra Leone with a cargo of palm wood.

It said North Korea had asserted that was impossible, saying the Chendin-2 was docked at an Angolan port at the time.
And"The vessel had all the necessary modern means of communication and emergency alarms, and was located in waters where ordinary mobile telephones work," said Mikhail Voitenko, editor of the Russian maritime journal Sovfrakht.


Arctic Sea: real story? Government or underworld?

The Israeli security service, Mossad, which closely monitors arms supplies to Iran, is said to have tipped off the Russian government that the shipment had been sold by former military officers linked to the underworld. Sources in Moscow suggested Mossad may have played a part in the alleged hijacking by setting up a criminal gang, who were unlikely to have known anything about a secret cargo. “The best way for the Israelis to block the cargo from reaching Iran would have been to create a lot of noise around the ship,” said a former army officer. Russian news agencies cited a top defense official 3/18/2009 as confirming that a contract to sell powerful air-defense missiles to Iran was signed two years ago, but saying no such weapons have yet been delivered. The state-run ITAR-Tass and RIA-Novosti news agencies and the independent Interfax 3/18/2009 quoted an unnamed top official in the Federal Military-Technical Cooperation Service as saying the contract was signed two years ago. Service spokesman Andrei Tarabrin told The Associated Press he could not immediately comment. here

— The Israeli president, Shimon Peres,that his Russian counterpart, Dmitri A. Medvedev, had promised to reconsider Russia’s plans to provide advanced surface-to-air missiles to Iran, a deal that Washington has also sought to halt. August 20

S-300 system became operational in 1978. Improvements to the S-300P have resulted in several major subversions for both the internal and the export market. United States has bought an S-300V system for evaluation here Timesonline


Mikhail Voitenko believes Nato knew exactly what had happened to the Maltese-flagged Arctic Sea.

A Nato spokesman said the alliance had been in contact with Russia throughout the crisis, but would not say anything more.


"Arctic Sea" in Novorossiisk in 12 days

Authorities say the "Arctic Sea" will arrive in the port of Novorossiisk in mid-September with the four remaining crew members at which point a more thorough investigation will take place.

"There is something on board they don't want anyone to see," says Mikhail Voitenko by phone from a hotel in Istanbul. He says that by reporting the missing ship he "spoiled the whole business for somebody" and now "they just want revenge, to smash me."