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Operation Sparkling

Operation Sparkling

From: David Bellavia, alias Felix Gutierrez
Date: August 29, 2009 2:03:22 AM PDT
To: Gary S. Gevisser
Subject: sparkling

Topic: Hijacking of the Arctic Sea


On or about 23 July 2009 the 4,000 ton dry cargo vessel Arctic Sea left port from Finland with a destined dock date in Bejaia, Algeria of 4 August 2009. This vessel was Maltese registered and owned by Sokhart Management carrying just under 2 million (US dollars) in what the ships log described as “lumber shavings and paper pulp.”

Arctic Sea’s crew consisted of 13, mostly Russian and Latvian nationals. Crew members reported that on or about July 24, 2009, ten heavily armed, masked men boarded the Arctic Sea and bound the crew. After a 12 hour search of the vessel the “pirates” departed without warning, no one was injured and nothing was taken from the vessel. The crew reported the incident and continued to their destination: Algeria

Four days later, on 28 July 2009 at approximately 0325 hours, 12 masked men, wearing black tactical military styled uniforms with white printing on the back that read “Policia” boarded the Arctic Sea. There was no confirmation that these were the same men from six days previous. The “pirates” spoke broken English, although no member of the 13 man crew spoke any language but their native tongue. After the ship was seized, the 13 man crew was bound and assaulted (broken bones and severe lacerations) the ships course was changed and the navigational system was deactivated.

On 29 July 2009 British coastguard vessels would make routine contact with the Arctic Sea just off the coast of Northern France and hours later it would disappear off the radar all together. The last radio contact was made by Swedish officials and when they spoke to the captain of the vessel, in Russian, on 31 July 2009. There were no reports of any “abnormal activity.”

For a period of 16 days, no European radar or satellite imagery could pick up a trace of the vessel. The Arctic Sea was missing.

Ukrainian sources would inform “Western Powers” that on or about 14 July 2009, the Arctic Sea went through ten days of preparation in the highly trafficked sea port of Kaliningrad, Russia, just 50 km northeast of Gdansk. Ukrainian sources would inform “Western Powers” that the bulkhead of the Arctic Sea was dismantled making it easier for the possible transport of military ballistic weapon contraband or conventional anti-aircraft armaments. The sources also relayed that prior alleged “weapon shipments” to countries such as Syria and Iran have also launched from North Africa.

Multiple containers were removed and some were reorganized from their original positions. The crew of the Arctic Sea would later reveal upon questioning that the crew was kept away from the “mechanical operations” and they “understood they may be carrying something other than their manifest.” The weight in Kaliningrad was noted to be just under 6,500 tons of “wood shavings” which is quite different than the 4,000 weight limit of the vessel. This can be attributed to a simple error or perhaps the actual weight of the current freight which was added erroneously, but according to the Arctic Sea’s paperwork, all cargo was loaded and registered in Finland.

1 August 2009, “pirates” allegedly on board the Arctic Sea call undisclosed authorities in Russia and claim to “blow up the ship” unless their demands are met. The asking price for the ransom is never disclosed and the number to the ship is never given to other intelligence agencies for assistance. No further contact is made, according to Russian authorities.

2 August 2009 the Russian military spokesman confirms that the counter submarine vessel Ladny is sent that morning to intercept the Arctic Sea as it heads out toward the Atlantic Ocean. No one else in the Russian military or the media is even alerted to this being of any “significant importance that would dictate a naval intercept.” No fixed wing or orbital platform airships are acknowledged to be launched to cross international air space.

When the Arctic Sea doesn’t port at Bejaia, Algeria on 4 August, the international media is alerted that the Arctic Sea is lost with no “Western Power” tracking it from sky or by sea.

United States Naval ships, already in the area, are alerted but vow to allow Russia to handle the recovery of the Arctic Sea and stand by to provide “support” if needed.

14 August 2009, American vessels locate the Arctic Sea and report on radar the Russian Ladny closing fast on Cape Verde Island off the West Coast of Africa in international waters. Ground surveillance sources allege that dozens of “Hazmat” dressed individuals comb the ship and 1/3 of the containers are removed with” heavy equipment.”

At that time investigators confirm deep welding torch signatures and portions of the bulkhead that appeared to have been “hastily” removed. The Arctic Sea in its natural state would not be able to carry any such cargo unless the heavy bulk head was removed.

16 August 2009, the repatriation of the Arctic Sea is announced by the Portuguese media. Reports claim the Arctic Sea was ordered to stop by the Ladny and when the ship complied the Russian forces boarded. The Russian Ministry of Defense reports that the Arctic Sea anchors almost 500km from the island, although other sources report that the Arctic Sea was docked and “heavy equipment was removing cargo.” According to Russian and Portuguese media, The Ladny anchors nearby and Russian authorities detain 8 “pirates” from Estonia, Latvia and Russia. They are quickly taken back in helicopters and sent back to Russia to face charges.

No weapons are found on the Arctic Sea. Ground surveillance sources reveal that four Ray Ban sunglasses bags, stretched low and “heavily burdened” are carried off the Arctic Sea. When opened, Russian authorities gather “spastically” around, some holding their palms up to inspect while others “crane their heads in close to see the small contents.” The contents cannot be authenticated but it is believed to have “high value” and not “traditional currency.”

Repelling harnesses, D rings, 20 meters of rope, star cluster flares and a high speed inflatable boat were seized on the decks of the Arctic Sea. One source noted later that, “the pilot of that inflatable boat would have to be an expert to navigate the choppy waters and the heavy disproportionate wake of the Arctic Sea near Finland or France.”

The waterways in which the Arctic Sea was hijacked are amongst some of the busiest and highly trafficked shipping lanes in the world. From a tactical standpoint the pirates would have been much better served to wait for the ship to near Northern Africa than to attack the Arctic Sea near France where they could be easily spotted by any number of merchant vessels.

Also of note, 16 August 2009, Israeli President Shimon Peres meets hastily with President Dmitry Medvedev to discuss immediately cutting off all shipments of missile technology, training and development from Russia to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION: David Bellavia (born November 10, 1975) is an American Iraq War veteran who was awarded the Silver Star for his actions during the Second Battle of Fallujah. Bellavia has also received the Bronze Star, three Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals and the New York State Conspicuous Service Cross. He has also been nominated for the Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Service Cross.


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