'Pirate raid' ship whereabouts unclear

The whereabouts of a cargo ship, which reportedly sailed through the English Channel after it had been boarded by pirates, remained unclear today.

The Arctic Sea, which disappeared with a 15-strong Russian crew on board more than two weeks ago, was spotted about 520 miles off the Cape Verde islands yesterday, according to French officials.



But today Russian news agency Itar-Tass reported that it was still unconfirmed whether the sighted ship was the Arctic Sea.



The 4,000-tonne vessel was meant to arrive in Bejaia in northern Algeria with its cargo of about £1 million worth of sawn timber on August 4. It is unknown what happened following its last official recorded positioning off northern France on July 30.



Numerous theories have been put forward to explain the vessel's disappearance, ranging from it being boarded by pirates to a commercial dispute.



Yesterday Itar-Tass and Financial Times Deutschland reported the ship near the Cape Verde islands, while French officials also said they had located the ship in the area.



EU Commission spokesman Dennis Abbott said it was being kept informed of developments by the member states involved.



He added: "We can't say any more than that because we don't want to hinder law enforcement activities."



Russia's ambassador in Cape Verde, Alexander Karpushin, told the Vesti news channel: "I met with the country's authorities, in particular with the chief of the general staff of Cape Verde's armed forces, who did not confirm the information that the ship had been detected."



He added that the country's ports had been instructed to contact the authorities if the ship appeared and asked for refuelling, food or water.



Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has ordered all Russian navy ships in the Atlantic to search for the missing vessel.



The ship's last known radio contact was with British Coastguards when it made routine contact with Dover Coastguard as it was about to enter the Strait of Dover from the North Sea at 1.52pm on July 28.



Days later Interpol informed the British Coastguard that the ship had been hijacked days before in the Baltic Sea.



According to reports, it was boarded by up to 10 armed men purporting to be anti-drugs police on July 24.



Some 12 hours later, the intruders apparently left the ship on a high-speed inflatable boat and allowed the vessel to continue on its passage but with its communications equipment damaged.



By the time Interpol alerted Dover Coastguard about the apparent hijacking, the Arctic Sea had already passed through the English Channel, UK Coastguards said.



It was last recorded on the AISLive ship tracking system off the coast of Brest, northern France, just before 1.30am on July 30.



Mr Abbott confirmed that radio calls were apparently received from the ship to suggest it had been attacked a second time, this time off the coast of Portugal.



He added: "It would seem that these activities, such as they have been reported, have nothing in common with traditional piracy."



Nato said it was monitoring the situation but was not directly involved in the search.

The Arctic Sea's tracking system was reported to be broadcasting signals from the Bay of Biscay off France today.

The Russian maritime website, Sovfrakht, said the signal appeared on a tracking service at about 8.30am but added that it was not known if the AISLive ship tracking system equipment was still actually on the ship.



News
A Brazilian wandering spider
news

World's most lethal spider found under a bunch of bananas

News
people
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in the win over QPR
footballInternet reacts to miss shocker for Liverpool striker
Voices
Sol Campbell near his home in Chelsea
voices
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
i100
News
Kimi the fox cub
newsBurberry under fire from animal rights group - and their star, Kimi
Sport
Fans of Palmeiras looks dejected during the match between Palmeiras and Santos
footballPalmeiras fan killed trying to 'ambush' bus full of opposition supporters
Arts and Entertainment
filmsIt's nearly a wrap on Star Wars: Episode 7, producer reveals
Life and Style
fashion
News
i100
News
<p>Jonathan Ross</p>
<p>Jonathan Ross (or Wossy, as he’s affectionately known) has been on television and radio for an extraordinarily long time, working on a seat in the pantheon of British presenters. Hosting Friday Night with Jonathan Ross for nine years, Ross has been in everything from the video game Fable to Phineas and Ferb. So it’s probably not so surprising that Ross studied at Southampton College of Art (since rebranded Southampton Solent), a university known nowadays for its media production courses.</p>
<p>However, after leaving Solent, Ross studied History at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, now part of the UCL, a move that was somewhat out of keeping with the rest of his career. Ross was made a fellow of the school in 2006 in recognition of his services to broadcasting.</p>
TV

Rumours that the star wants to move on to pastures new

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey indulge in some racing at a Point to Point
tvNew pictures promise a day at the races and a loved-up Lady Rose
News
people

Comedian says he 'never laughed as hard as I have writing with Rik'

Arts and Entertainment
Tim Wonnacott dancing the pasadoble
TVStrictly Come Dancing The Result
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past