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.