VLADIVOSTOK. August 20. VOSTOK-MEDIA – The Russian-crewed Arctic Sea vessel hijackers demanded ransom and threatened to blow up the dry-cargo ship and the crew if it wasn’t paid, Russian state news agencies quoted a Defense Ministry official as saying. At present the hijackers and the crew continue to be questioned.
"The crew members have already confirmed that the captors demanded a ransom and threatened to blow up the vessel if their orders were not obeyed," a spokesman for Russias Defense Ministry said.
“The crew members say that the hijackers were armed and got rid of the weapons when the Russian guided missile frigate Ladny ordered the cargo ships crew to stop the vessel. A high-speed inflatable boat, sacks of gear for boarding a vessel and pyrotechnics equipment had been found on board the Arctic Sea during the preliminary survey. The Russian prosecutors office has opened an investigation into kidnapping by an organized group as the crew is being flown back to their home,” – RF Ministry of Defense official added.
Arctic Sea dry-cargo vessel that had disappeared more than two weeks ago was found off the Cape Verde islands. According to the information provided by the RF Ministry of Defense, all 15 crew members are alive. Arctic Sea was hijacked by the armed group consisting of four Estonians, two Latvians and two Russians. The Russian guided missile frigate Ladny released the hostages without firing a shot.