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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Somali Pirates: British Yacht Couple Moved to Cargo Ship, Yacht Stripped and Abandoned

Reported here:
Paul Chandler told Britain's ITV News in a phone call that he and his wife were being held aboard a container ship anchored a mile from the Somali coast. They apparently had been briefly taken ashore.
Chandler told ITV the pirates crept aboard his yacht at night while he was asleep.

"They kept asking for money and took everything of value on the boat," Chandler, 59, said in the interview before the phone connection was abruptly broken off.

The British navy found the yacht — empty — in international waters earlier Thursday. Warships had been searching for the Lynn Rival since it sent out a distress signal Oct. 23.

Chandler later told the BBC in a telephone interview that he is being treated well by his captors.

"We are well, and being looked after OK," Chandler said. "Food is OK."
Good article about one of the Somali pirate havens Harardhere:
Piracy in Harardhere started in 2003-2004 as the business idea of one man, whose foot soldiers took the British yachting couple last week: Mohamed Abdi "Afweyne" (Somali for "big mouth").

"He had no clue about the sea... On technical matters related to boats, I had to teach him from scratch and the first times we went out to sea, he was sick all the time," one of his associates recalled.

Afweyne comes from an area and clan with no experience of piracy, but he head-hunted some of the most prominent pirates from the northern breakaway region of Puntland for his start-up.

"Harardhere provided the perfect base for the pirates as it was far away from the fractions in the Somali civil war," Norwegian researcher Stig Jarle Hansen explained in a recent report on piracy.

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