There has been considerable media attention recently concerning the hijacking of commercial vessels by Somalian pirates, most notably the experience of Capt. Phillips master of the Maersk Alabama. Almost all of these incidents have taken place in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden off east Africa. Now, however, a strange report has surfaced of the ship Arctic Sea, a Maltese-flagged merchant ship with a Russian crew being hijacked in the Baltic Sea off Sweden.
As of right now, the vessel, hauling a 6,500-ton cargo of lumber from Finland to Algeria is still missing, presumably somewhere in the Atlantic. The ship was last heard from on July 31, when the ship was contacted by Swedish police and crewmembers were able to tell the police that eight to 12 masked intruders came aboard off Sweden claiming to be drug enforcement officers. According to a CNN report, the intruders beat the crew before tying them up and then steaming the vessel into the North Sea and through the English Channel to the Atlantic. An international search is currently being conducted to find the ship and its crew.