Vanishing ship was boarded by pirates

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The cargo ship that lost all communication - "disappeared" for weeks - in the English Channel was hijacked by eight armed men and its crew ordered to sail to Africa, Russian officials said Monday.

The announcement is the first confirmation of reports that the vessel was boarded July 24, shortly after it left port in Finland carrying timber worth $1.3 million.

Officiasl said the hijackers were still on board with the 15-man crew when the Russian navy and air force intercepted the vessel 300 miles off the Cape Verde Islands west of Click here to read a report in The Times. To read a report in The Telegraph that details how the crew was severely beaten, click here.