Self-exiled maritime reporter to work from Thailand

Maritime reporter Mikhail Voitenko, who fled Russia after receiving threats for his suggestions about the cargo of the hijacked merchant vessel Arctic Sea, has moved to Bangkok from Istanbul.

On Friday, the editor of the online Maritime Bulletin-Sovfrakht told CNN the cargo ship might have been involved in “some secret kind of shipment”.

“I don't think that this was a criminal cargo or drugs. I think it's something more important or dangerous,” Voitenko said.

On Thursday, Voitenko was reported to have left for Turkey because of intimidation. On his website he said that he is on a “working visit”. Later, though, the journalist confirmed to several media outlets that he was forced to flee, noting at the same time he will continue to work, as all he needs are his laptop and Internet connection.

Meanwhile, Sovfrakht have said in a corporate press release that they received a phone call from Voitenko informing them of his resignation as chief editor of the maritime bulletin.

The self-exiled reporter later denied his dismissal.

The Arctic Sea was captured in the Baltic Sea by alleged pirates on July 24, who forced the crew to change course and disable communications equipment. She was recaptured by the Russian Navy near Cape Verde on August 17.

Voitenko was the first to break the news about the seizure on August 8. He regularly published updates about the vessel on his website. He also made the suggestion that the cargo ship might have been carrying “something other than timber”.