Russia's navy arrested eight men accused of hijacking the Arctic Sea freighter near Sweden and forcing the crew to sail to West Africa, the defense minister said today. The suspected hijackers were detained by the naval vessel that found the Russian-crewed freighter yesterday off Cape Verde, thousands of miles from the Algerian port where it was supposed to dock two weeks ago.
The suspected hijackers—citizens of Estonia, Latvia, and Russia—were arrested without a shot being fired, state news agencies said, though there was still no word on why they allegedly seized the ship. The defense minister said the armed hijackers boarded the freighter under the pretext that there was a problem with their inflatable craft then forced the crew to change course and turned off the Arctic Sea's navigation equipment. The 15 crew members are safe and have been taken aboard the Russian naval vessel for questioning.