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Arctic Sea: the Commission sees no flaw in maritime security

(BRUSSELS2) After the recovery of the Artic Sea (this ship under the Maltese flag hijacked by “pirates” towards the African coasts – see the august news), the European Commission does not consider that European maritime security rules are in question or require their strengthening, underlined one of the institution's spokespersons in Brussels on Tuesday (August 18).

“Near Guinea Bissau“. The European Commission has thus, indeed, been “ informed yesterday afternoon by the Maltese authorities (flag authorities), that the Arctic Sea has been found, and is under the control of the Russian Navy, 300 nautical miles south of Cape Verde and 15 miles from Guinea Bissau. explained Martin Selmayr (who is responsible for the Commission's spokesperson's service during the holiday period). But, according to the Maltese authorities informed by the manager of the company owning the ship, “ all crew is safe ". A joint investigation team, coordinated by Finland (headquarters of the owner company), including representatives from Malta, and several other countries (Sweden, etc.), works together and conducts a criminal investigation.

A “good script for Hollywood“. Throughout the investigation, the various European authorities concerned kept Brussels informed. And the European Commission “ is satisfied with this ad hoc consultation and the information provided ". As things stand, it therefore does not seem necessary to modify the European regulations in force (regulation 725 dating from 2004). Even if, as things stand, Brussels prefers to remain “discreet”. “ A criminal investigation is underway. One day all the details known, it could make a good movie for Hollywood » adds, ironically, Martin Selmayr (who always has a sense of the formula). However, he did not want to explain why the Commission had, one day, explained that there was act of piracy. And not the next day...

Cooperation with the Russians “difficult”. According to a Finnish police inspector, quoted by the national press, the pirates have remained on board the ship since the first attack on July 24, off the coast of Sweden. And if the ransom demand appears authentic, the hypothesis of insurance fraud is not excluded like so many others, including an operation intended to enhance national prestige. As for who will lead the judicial investigation, and how responsibilities will be distributed between the different national authorities, this remains to be determined. If between the Europeans, after a rather chaotic start, coordination seems to have been affirmed, on the other hand, “ it was difficult to cooperate with the Russians in the international hunt for this ship » explain the Finns…

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).