A 3,988t Russian cargo ship carrying timber worth $1.8m from Finland to Algeria, which was apparently hijacked off the coast of Sweden before continuing its journey through the English Channel, remains missing.

A maritime hunt is now underway for the Maltese-flagged Arctic Sea, which was last sighted in the Bay of Biscay on 30 July.

The Arctic Sea was carrying 15 Russian crew and left Finland on 23 July bound for the Algerian port of Bejaia.

Speculation over what happened to the missing ship is rife. The Arctic Sea disappeared while rounding the west coast of France.