Hunt on for hijacked cargo ship

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by singha61, Aug 12, 2009.

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  1. From BBC
    A search is under way for a cargo ship which may have travelled through the English Channel after apparently being hijacked by pirates.

    Coastguards fear the Maltese-flagged Arctic Sea, carrying 15 Russian crew, was hijacked in the Baltic sea.

    UK authorities made contact before it entered the Strait of Dover but the Russian navy told the Itar-Tass agency it was now looking for the ship.

    The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said the situation was "bizarre".

    Spokesman Mark Clark said: "Who would think that a hijacked ship could pass through one of the most policed and concentrated waters in the world?

    "It seems strange to think that a ship which had been hijacked was passing along the channel along with ships carrying day-trippers going over to Calais for the day."

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8196640.stm
     
  2. Sounds very bizarre, surely at least one ship will have reported its' location after not seeing it on the AIS system that all cargo ships use, if it is still switched on then it can be tracked, if it isn't switched on then other ships seeing it but not being warned about it on their AIS will surely get suspicious and report it to the authorities!

    The mind boggles...

    Edited to add: Infact here are the Arctic Sea's last known position and details on AIS: http://www.marinetraffic.com/AIS/shipdetails.aspx?mmsi=215860000
     
  3. Odd that it has taken two weeks for the news to come out. I wonder if a motive other than piracy was suspected initially?
     
  4. Something just doesn't sound right/add up! they should be able to accurately plot how far it could have gone at maximum speed over 13 days from it's last known position, they know at least it was heading West out of the channel as it was hijacked in the Baltic Sea... no doubt it turned south - Africa bound so surely a search can find it unless it has anchored up somewhere in between, but can a ship that size actually 'hide' anywhere close to the shore?!!!

    Something very odd about this... any ships seeing such a large ship close by but not being able to identify it on the AIS should be sending out alarm bells as I am sure it is Law that any ship over a certain tonnage must have its' AIS system switched on.
     
  5. There are a few problems with this:

    1) You can't accurately plot the position of a ship just because you knew (roughly) where it was 13 days ago, and its maximum speed. It was in the English Channel. Where? Dover Straits, Casquets, Ushant?

    13 days at, for argument's sake 10 knots gives a very large search area. The sea is an awfully big place and once away from the land it's very hard to find a contact- you'd effectively have to be in radar range, and then close to visually ID it. Even that could be inconclusive.

    Overhead surveillance from satellites would be zero use, because it wouldn't be possible to ID a ship.

    2) AIS can be switched off, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if a merchant ship, on noticing that another ship had it's AIS off, did absolutely nothing about it. Arguably that's their SOP...

    3) Gone to Africa. Maybe. Maybe not. It would still take a large search force to actually find the vessel- far more ships than it's economically worth deploying to find one missing merchantman.

    The basic problem remains that the sea is a very big place, and if you want to stay hidden it's very easy to do so. AIS, satellites, radar haven't changed that fundamental.
     
  6. [quote="P2000]
    The basic problem remains that the sea is a very big place, and if you want to stay hidden it's very easy to do so. AIS, satellites, radar haven't changed that fundamental.[/quote]

    Exactly, thats why SSN's and SSBN's are so successful at what they do. You can still hide at sea, particularly if you are off the trade routes. It would never surprise me though if this one turned up back in the Baltic somewhere without its cargo and maybe deep in Davy Jones locker :(
     
  7. My first thought when I heard this was: what's the cargo? Is it something that might go BANG! in a large way?

    Since it appears to have been carrying nothing more exciting than timber, other questions arise. Apart from the obvious "Where the fcuk is it?", this is the first time I've heard of a ship being hijacked in the Baltic Sea.
     
  8. It was carrying timber, FFS, who steals timber? Maybe someone was trying for the world square dance record and needed some decking.

    Mind you, that stuffs expensive - it doesn't grow on trees, you know.
     
  9. Timber, yes. It's on its way to Algeria, apparently.

    So you unload the timber, load up a nuclear weapon plucked from a Russian dodge-pot and smuggled into Algeria weeks before, put to sea, heave to in the Channel or near Faslane or your port of choice and light the blue touch paper.

    Even if it doesn't go bang cos it's old and not up to scratch, it would make a horrible dirty bomb-style mess.

    Great headlines too.

    And a film starring George Clooney as Viktor Bout, Samuel Jackson as Obama and Bob Hoskins as the evil Kim Jong Il.
     
  10. If it's profitible enough to sell, it's profitible enough to steal. But I had the same reaction; maybe the Captain Sparrows were expecting something else, got p1ssed off and scuttled the ship?
     
  11. To be honest, King, I'm surprised Jihad-R-Us have'nt tried that years ago. Given the size of the area to be protected, it would probably be easier to infiltrate a Nuke by sea rather than air or land. And you don't even need to get too close to your target if the Bucket of Instant Sunshine is big enough...
     
  12. Anyone read 'The Afghan' by Frederick Forsyth? Similar premise.

    'And a film starring George Clooney as Viktor Bout, Samuel Jackson as Obama and Bob Hoskins as the evil Kim Jong Il.' Why does the villain always have to be British?
     
  13. Well, we did'nt build the greatest Empire the world has ever known by being NICE, old chap!

    British Bad Guys are always the best, dear boy! :twisted: 8)
     
  14. Never mind the ship. I've now found another web-site on which to waste hours of my life. I've never looked at www.marinetraffic.com before but it's absolutely engrossing getting all those details for ships all over the world.

    You're right. I don't have a very exciting life. :cry:
     
  15. Is there a chef onboard? He'll know what to do.