I have to say that any situation in which the Russians can blame four Estonians and two Latvians (although there were reported to be two Russian hijackers as well, and some reports are of Lithuanians rather than Latvians, but most say Latvians) turns on my skepticism. And the Estonian and Latvian governments are asking for more information.
The ship's timber cargo was valued at a million British pounds, and insurance was for $4 million, which presumably includes the ship and cargo.
The public facts about the ship and its cargo don't seem to justify a piracy operation, although I wouldn't be surprised to see Russian commentary trending toward the well-known desire of Estonians and Latvians to damage Russia in any way possible and to threaten its free and lawful commerce. I haven't seen that yet, but won't be surprised if it shows up in an official statement. That will send the Estonians and Latvians into a tizzy.
So, as long as I'm speculating, I'll include speculations from some others. Yulia Latynina, who hosts a political talk show on Ekho Moskvy radio, an independent station often critical of the Russian government, suggests
The Arctic Sea was carrying some sort of anti-aircraft or nuclear contraption intended for a nice, peaceful country like Syria, and they were caught with it. And this wasn’t a one-time delivery. I’m not a believer in the omniscience of the CIA or Mossad, who might have somehow found out that on a certain date a certain old vessel would be delivering a certain little something. Most likely, it was a tried and true route that had been used successfully for quite some time. And now they’ve been caught.The Estonians are repeating this, probably because they, like me, can see what is likely ahead in posturing.
If Latynina is correct, we're unlikely to ever hear what this was about. Unless, perhaps, the Russians have framed eight men.