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Arctic Sea cargo vessel heading for Malta

RIA Novosti

16:09 23/10/2009 ST. PETERSBURG, October 23 (RIA Novosti) - The Arctic Sea cargo ship, which has been at the centre of a mysterious hijacking case since July, is currently being towed towards Malta, the ship's Finnish owner said on Friday.

Viktor Matveyev, managing director of Solchart, told RIA Novosti: "next week I am heading for Malta to discuss details of the vessel's handover."

A military source confirmed to RIA Novosti that the vessel, which was anchored to the east of Gibraltar for two weeks, is heading to the port Maltese port of Valletta and is expected to arrive on October 29.

The Maltese-flagged ship manned by a Russian crew and listed as carrying lumber from Russia to Algeria was reportedly boarded by a group of eight men on July 24. Officials later said it had disappeared in the Atlantic. It was freed off Cape Verde on August 16 by a Russian warship.

The ship has been the focus of media speculation, with some reports speculating it was carrying Russian S-300 surface-to-air missiles to Iran or Syria. Moscow has denied the reports.

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