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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Somali Pirates Grab a Yacht, 2 Brits

Reported as Somali pirates say holding British couple:
Somali pirates said on Tuesday they had seized a yacht in the Indian Ocean with a British couple aboard and were taking the vessel to the Horn of Africa nation.

"The British couple are in our hands now. We captured them as they were touring in the Indian Ocean," a pirate called Hassan told Reuters. He said the two captives were healthy and ransom demands would follow.

The Seychelles coastguard said it dispatched aircraft to search for the yacht after receiving a distress signal on Friday and now foreign naval ships and planes fighting piracy in the Indian Ocean had joined the search.

"We have not traced the yacht yet," Lieutenant Colonel Michael Rosette, who is in charge of the Seychelles coastguard, told a news conference. "The yacht had only two passengers on board when it left the Seychelles."

The Britons, Paul and Rachel Chandler, both in their fifties, left the Seychelles aboard their 38-foot yacht, Lynn Rival, on Oct. 22 and were believed to he sailing towards the east African coast.
BBC has more here.

Also, here, a confirmation of the capture:
Andrew Mwangura, the East Africa Coordinator of Seafarers Assistance Program (SAP), said the British couple was in a high-risk area for hijackings off Somalia when their yacht, the Lynn Rival, sent a distress signal.

"We received the reports today but it seemed the hijacking took place on Friday. The yatch was in high-seas which made the couple to lose contact," Mwangura told Xinhua by telephone from Mombasa

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