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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Arctic Sea Captain Phones Boss After Weeks of Silence

The captain of the Arctic Sea freighter contacted the ship’s operating company Thursday for the first time since the ship mysteriously disappeared in July.

The captain made a brief call to Solchart Arkhangelsk Ltd.’s office on his cell phone, a company spokesman said.

“He said the rest of the crew on the ship is all fine,” the spokesman told Interfax.

Eleven of the 15-member crew have returned to their families in Arkhangelsk, while the other four are on the ship sailing to Novorossiisk.

The 11 were not allowed to contact their families for more than a week after they flew to Moscow following what the Navy described as their Aug. 17 release from hijackers off western Africa.

Sailors Trade Union head Alexander Krasnoshtan said the captain and the other three sailors had yet to make contact with their families as of Thursday afternoon.

“I can’t explain why our government can’t supply them with a connection so that the sailors can tell their wives, ‘Don’t worry,’” Krasnoshtan said, Interfax reported.

He added that the Arctic Sea was being accompanied by a Russian warship.

The authorities say the Maltese-flagged Arctic Sea and its crew were seized by eight hijackers near Sweden on July 24 as they sailed from Finland to Algeria with a cargo of $1.8 million in timber.

Further clouding the incident, an outspoken piracy expert who suggested that the ship might have been carrying a secret cargo fled Russia on Wednesday after receiving threats of physical harm. Mikhail Voitenko, editor of the respected Sovfrakht Marine Bulletin, told The Moscow Times on Wednesday from Istanbul that some “serious guys” had told him to leave for three or four months. He refused to say who they were.

The Investigative Committee said, meanwhile, that six countries were planning to investigate the Arctic Sea incident, including Russia, Finland, Sweden, Malta, Estonia and Latvia. The suspected hijackers had lived in Estonia and Latvia.

Investigators from all six countries met and agreed to work together Thursday, the Investigative Committee said.