Russia on Monday found a Finnish-owned missing cargo vessel near the Cape Verde islands and retrieved its 15-member Russian crew, who it said were in good condition.
Triggering speculations the Arctic Sea, the Finnish vessel, went off radar soon after it passed through the English Channel with its cargo of timber.
The vessel was found early on Monday 300 miles (480 km) off Cape Verde in the Atlantic Ocean, reported Tass news agency.
“The crew have been transferred to another ship. They are being interrogated now in order to find out what happened,” Rissian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov was quoted as saying by Tass.
The Arctic Sea had onboard timber estimated at $1.8m (£1.1m), the vessel sailed from Finland and had been scheduled to dock in the Algerian port of Bejaia on August Four.
The crew reported that the ship was swarmed by 10 armed men as the vessel sailed through the Baltic Sea on 24 July, but the armed men were reported to have escaped the vessel on an inflatable boat some 12 hours later.