28 Aug 2009

Hijack charges laid by Russia over cargo ship

5:43 am on 28 August 2009

Russia has charged eight men with piracy and kidnapping, following the apparent hijacking of a cargo ship last month.

The Arctic Sea mysteriously vanished on 24 July after leaving Finland with a cargo of timber.

Prosecutors say seven have been charged with armed kidnapping and participation in piracy. The other is accused of being the mastermind of the operation.

The suspects were taken to Russia last week from the Cape Verde archipelago, after the Russian navy succeeded in regaining control of the vessel.

The BBC reports there has been speculation that the ship, which was scheduled to travel to the Algerian port of Bejaia, may have been carrying an illicit cargo, possibly arms.