Arctic Sea: Russian naval personnel disembarked

The Arctic Sea entered the port of Valletta the evening of 29 October and has been allocated a berth at Boiler Wharf. The ship was delivered back to its owners outside Maltese territorial waters in the afternoon.

The ship arrived, 28 October at 0700 hours, outside territorial waters under the tow of a Russian naval tug. The ship was handed over 29 October at 1330 hours by the Russian authorities to the owner. Soon after the tow was transferred from the Russian naval tug to the commercial tug boat Mari, operated by Tug Malta, and the Russian naval personnel disembarked from the ship.

Despite repeated promises to take it into port, the Russian Navy had held the Arctic Sea in international waters since seizing it from suspected pirates on August 17 off Cape Verde near West Africa, 2,500 miles (4,000km) off course.

The ship had been under guard by two Russian warships since then. The captain and three crew members, who are all Russian, had been on board throughout the voyage. It is unclear whether they will be free to return home to the Russian port of Archangel or be taken to Moscow for questioning.

The Moscow Basmanny District Court has extended the arrest of the suspected assailants of the Maltese-flagged Arctic Sea until 18 February at the request of the Russian Prosecutor General Office’s Investigation Committee. “The judge extended custody of Andrei Lunev and Vitaly Lepin for three months and 29 days, until 18 February,” said Moscow City Court press secretary Anna Usachyova on16 October. A similar decision was made for another six suspects earlier.

No comments: