8 May 2010

Prison sentence for hijacker of ship

5:34 pm on 8 May 2010

A court in Russia has sentenced a man accused of hijacking a cargo ship that went missing in mysterious circumstances, to prison for five years.

Andrei Lunev, from Estonia, is the first to be sentenced over the incident last July. He was found guilty of piracy.

The Arctic Sea and its 15 Russian crew vanished soon after leaving Finland with a cargo of timber.

The BBC reports the mystery sparked speculation about a possible arms shipment for Iran.

Russia dismissed speculation that Russian S-300 missiles were on board the ship.

The Arctic Sea was eventually found on 16 August off West Africa. Moscow announced that the Russian navy had captured the hijackers and rescued the crew.

Eight were charged over the incident - citizens of Russia, Estonia and Latvia.

The RIA Novosti news agency said Lunev had agreed to plead guilty as part of a deal with prosecutors.