Official accused of plotting to blow oil tanker in Russia's north

Russian authorities have arrested a local official accused of plotting to blow up an oil tanker, but his motives were not immediately clear, officials said Friday.

The official was arrested Thursday on terrorism charges, said Yelena Golovanova, a spokeswoman for the Murmansk branch of the Federal Security Service, or FSB, the main KGB successor agency.

Russian media cited the same FSB branch in identifying the official as Igor Senin, the deputy head of the Murmansk region city of Zaozyorsk, on the Kola Peninsula. Branch officials could not be reached later Friday to confirm the identification.

Golovanova said earlier that the suspect was accused of making preparations to blow up an oil tanker in the Kola Bay in order to cause an environmental catastrophe. Murmansk is Russia's main Arctic port.

Zaozyorsk is one of the so-called "closed" settlements, home to sensitive military and industrial facilities, that are abundant in the area, where Russia's Northern Fleet is based.

Investigators were working to determine who else was behind the plan, Golovanova said. She refused to provide any specifics, but said that a business conflict could be a possible cause.

Golovanova ruled out a link to Chechen rebels, who have launched numerous terror attacks in Russia in recent years, reports AP.

O.Ch.

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Author`s name: Editorial Team