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Russia is to Blame Again…

a "secret mission" of the dry cargo ship Arctic Sea

15.09.2009 17:53

The fuss about the cargo ship Arctic Sea has not calmed down yet. But if at first everybody was interested not only in the ship’s fate, then now some foreign information agencies hurriedly try to create an opinion among inhabitants of a supposedly "secret mission" performed by the crew.

It was rumored with incredible ease that "something very secret" was transported to a "mysterious" destination. The picture of the crew release and robbers’ arrest is presented mysterious at that.

The Russian Federation is yet again accused of inaction and callousness with respect to the crew and seamen’s families, smuggling and other "unearthly offences". The similar accusations have already become habitual and, may not emotionalize at all.

However this time alongside with Russia also Finland found itself in the category of the accused. According to a number of journalists, in the port of Jakobstad (Pietarsaari) the shipping of "classified materials" thoroughly disguised as wood was made. And the amount of the officially declared cargo at that was "just" a little more than US$1 million. Nothing short of a "trifling" million. It is suspicious... If only the question was about billion!.. That is why one tries to turn even this fact into another accusation of the Russian and Finnish parties of a super secret design.

And in a turmoil nobody paid attention (may have paid but said nothing) to the meeting on 1 September of the Prime Minister of Russia with his Finnish colleague, where Finland’s official address to Russia was declared with a request to render legal assistance in this case investigation.

But both countries’ arrangements and their interest in an impartial investigation of the incident do not play into the hands of PR agencies, blowing up a fuss around the Arctic Sea. But a collusion, a secret collusion is just what they need. A very interesting idea! But why not...

But, perhaps, it is worth departing from emotions and taking a view of the facts. They explain the essence of the matter more expressive than something other.

Firstly, the practical international standards provide for obligatory observance of navigation rules. A vessel may not put out to sea if it is technically defective. And if this is the case, then all the life-support systems of the Arctic Sea were in working condition. The ship just could not have put to sea, if communication, navigation, electrical equipment and other systems were not functioning.

That is why the "radiosilence mode" of the Arctic Sea could begin only in consequence of "external" factors influence. And these factors are more probably of a criminal nature. Because it is no mere chance that the captain of the ship Sergey Zaretsky could send only one SMS-message, the content of which is yet more proof that the sender’s actions were controlled.

Secondly, any ship putting out to sea undergoes obligatory customs, border and other kinds of control. The party making such actions, in case of detection of smuggled and other nondeclared goods is obliged to immediately notify the parties owning the goods and its carrier. Furthermore, measures provided by international regulatory legal acts should be taken.

However Finland did not notify the Russian party of the Arctic Sea crew’s arrest or smuggled goods on shipboard. That is why there is every reason to believe that the cargo was completely corresponding to the declared consignment notes, and there were no "classified materials" transported by the crew. The version of a "classified goods" falls apart at the seams in this case too.

Thirdly, there is a standard world practice according to which in force-majeure circumstances a ship owner is obliged to immediately notify public authorities in conformity with applicable rules.

But it was not done. This brings up just questions: "Why the ship-owner, whom the Arctic Sea belonged, did not find it necessary to inform the Russian party of the above circumstances? What are motives of his behavior? Whom was he lead by?" There remains a lot of questions, but investigation will give answers to them. However it is evident that in this situation the crew became hostage of its owners or their protectors. Of those, who are trying now to shift the blame for what has happened onto the Russian authorities and crew.

Fourthly, according to working rules of the maritime law, any party, discovered a lost vessel or a vessel in distress, is obliged to render all necessary assistance in these cases and to inform the party owning the transport.

And not all is plain sailing in this question as well. It perplexes that the sailing near the Arctic Sea vessels under the flags of Sweden, France, Great Britain and other states did not wish to interfere in this situation settlement.

NATO combat ships’ "position of inaction" in relation to transportation of "secret and insecure", according to some information agencies, materials also remains unclear. Otherwise, how can be considered the fact that a ship, allegedly transporting "dangerous materials", "weapon" and other "secret materials", was sailing to a point of its destination without hindrance.

And references to possible lack of information about nature of goods of the leading world powers intelligence services, as well as to impossibility to establish the Arctic Sea’s location are at least unfounded and invite a number of questions. One of these questions can make taxpayers think about it. What for are numerous exercises conducted then, including those of NATO ships, on which amounts of many millions are spent?

After all with such unconcern it is not far to repetition of tragic events of 11 September. And taxpayers’ lives, the Alliance's Forces are to defense, will be again under the threat.

Fifthly, according to the accepted rules, any civil vessel has a name or a certain number. Number is changed in accordance with established procedure, in specially designated areas.

In the case with the Arctic Sea the following happened. During its detention by the Russian ship Ladny, trying to disorient naval mariners, the captain of the dry cargo ship Arctic Sea went on the air and reported on his belongings to the flag of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. At that he called false name of the vessel JON JIN 2 and its sailing route Havana-Sierra Leone, with cargo of palmtrees, as well as his IMO 8018912 number.

During inspection of the ship by naval mariners it was found out that the name JON JIN 2 had been applied with a fresh coat of paint over the name Arctic Sea.

Thus, there are too unsolved questions, but the major of them is the following: "Who was to profit by this action, who is behind the outright cynical provocation, what is the real goal?"

There is no doubt that the firmly and successively pursued by Russia course of strict observance of the undertaken liabilities can not make our ill-wishers glad. The strong and self-confident state, ever more intensively integrating in the world community and gaining in political and economic strength, vexes advocates of "cold war".

But against all the odds the Russian Federation jointly with the leading world powers actively counteracts to any manifestations of transboundary threats, including the maritime piracy. Russia stands for joint, coordinated struggle of the world community against modern challenges and threats.

The Russian President’s initiatives for working out a consolidated legal response to acts of maritime piracy, including possible creation of an International piracy tribunal, is a graphic evidence of that.

However we shall return to the above questions. So, who was to profit by this provocation? Most probably those forces, who are interested in weakening of integration processes of the world community. Those are to profit from it, which are get accustomed to attack a "weak" and a "sick".

It is interesting, how the "newly brought to light corsairs" would act if they face a civil vessel under the flag of the USA, Russia, Great Britain, France, Japan, China, India, Pakistan or other leading states of the world? Would they act as resolutely and boldly? Most likely, they will not!

Those are to profit from it, which try to make a chaos and instability, distrust and hostility.

Those are to profit from it, which oppose fomenting tension, one-sided interpretation of the standards of international law to peaceful solution of problems. Those which got accustomed to cause a clash between peoples, using shrewd moves of quiet diplomacy and services of unscrupulous mediators acting outside the law.

It is obvious that the fuss is directed to weakening the role and influence of the Russian Federation in the international arena, blowing to its political leadership’s prestige.

However, the case with the Arctic Sea shows once again that the Russian party does not intend to give a chance to its opponents to implement their secret plans.

Russia demonstrated yet again its resoluteness to stop any unlawful acts in relation to its citizens. It is ready to ensure their safety in any conditions and regions of the world, using for that end all means available in its arsenal.

As to the persons participating in the vessel hijacking, an action was brought by in accordance with claim "а", Part 2, Article 126 of the Criminal code of the Russian Federation (enlevement, made by a group of persons previous concert). At that the Russian investigatory powers have full legal right to conduct investigation both with the crew and the vessel. An investigation is also being conducted in relation to other persons that may have been involved in the story with the Arctic Sea.

Article 105 of the Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982 runs that any state, which has established jurisdiction over a pirate or a seized by pirates vessel, has a right to bring an action, carry out an investigation, arrest culpable participants and transfer them to national court of the party, which has established jurisdiction. That is why the vessel will be returned after investigatory actions termination. Russia has been always loyal to its undertaken liabilities, always acted within the standards of international law.