This story has all the makings of an international best seller. Its ingredients are a ship with a mysterious cargo, a flotilla of Russian naval vessels, the Israeli Mossad, weapons bound for Iran, an investigative journalist and a whole lot more.
The Arctic Sea set sail from Finland in July supposedly carrying a cargo of lumber, said to be worth just a couple of million dollars. Its destination was Algeria.
After just two days the ship was passing through the English Channel, a waterway not exactly known these days for violence and intrigue, when a group of "pirates" boarded her and she "disappeared."
The Russia navy dispatched several ships to hunt for the Arctic Sea, which was discovered several days later nowhere near Algeria. The ship was located close to Cape Verde, some 500 kilometers off the Senegalese coast.
It is believed the crew and hijackers were whisked off to Russia to find out exactly what happened. End of story -- seemingly.
THE MYSTERY DEEPENS
Then, on Aug. 31 Time magazine published an item asking whether the Israeli Mossad intelligence agency was behind the hijacking of the Arctic Sea. Its author, Simon Shuster, quoted experts as saying the ship's payload was actually weapons bound for the Middle East.