Piracy in European Waters?

Now you see it, now you don't. A Maltese cargo ship with a Russian crew reported it was attacked near Sweden and then passed through the English Channel without incident. Now, no one knows where the ship is. Could pirates have struck in European waters? "If this is a criminal act, it appears to be following a new business model," one maritime expert told the Associated Press. The details of the possible hijacking are hazy: 10 masked men supposedly boarded the ship, claiming to be police. The crew then said the men made a getaway on a "high speed inflatable boat." But the ship—and its $1.84 million booty of lumber—has vanished. Piracy is only one possible scenario. "I strongly suspect that this is probably a commercial dispute with its owner and a third party and they've decided to take matters into their own hands," another expert said.