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Russia, NATO have 'exhaustive' info on Arctic Sea - envoy

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Russia and NATO have exhaustive information on the Arctic Sea cargo vessel, missing in the Atlantic since late July, the country's envoy to the alliance has said.

BRUSSELS, August 16 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and NATO have exhaustive information on the Arctic Sea cargo vessel, missing in the Atlantic since late July, the country's envoy to the alliance has said.

"All the exhaustive information, which we do have and which is most likely objective, is instantly reported to the [Russian] naval headquarters," Dmitry Rogozin said late on Saturday, but declined to comment on the vessel's whereabouts.

The tracking device aboard the Russian-crewed Arctic Sea, carrying timber, was briefly reactivated earlier on Saturday showing the vessel to be located in the Atlantic's Bay of Biscay near France's La Rochelle port, according to Sovfrakht, a Russian maritime journal.

"As partners, we [Russia and NATO] are currently facing the sole task of sending to the right location and at the right time the forces dispatched by the Russian president," Rogozin said.

Russia's Dmitry Medvedev ordered the country's Navy on Wednesday to launch the search for the Arctic Sea. The frigate Ladny was heading toward Cape Verde in the western Atlantic on Friday, according to the Russian ambassador in the former Portuguese colony.

The ship last made radio contact with British coastguards on July 28. According to Interpol the ship was briefly seized in Swedish waters of the Baltic Sea by masked men claiming to be police on July 24. Reports state that after 12 hours the men left the ship and the Arctic Sea resumed its voyage.

Some media have speculated the ship could have been targeted because it was carrying an "unknown cargo" in addition to timber. The ship operator has called the reports "rubbish."

In an interview with Russia's Vesti 24 television channel, Rogozin signaled earlier on Saturday that he was not authorized to disclose the details of the operation.

"The operation is sort of in full swing. It is being developed successfully, ...unfortunately, nothing more can be said now... This is too serious, concerning the life, safety and health of our citizens, that is why we will have to be satisfied with the information we have at our joint disposal for the time being," Rogozin said.

Reports came on Saturday that a ransom demand had been issued to the Finnish owners of the missing vessel.

 

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