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Seychelles - Lynn Rival Siezed by Pirates

By Sue Richards last modified Oct 28, 2009 03:01 PM

Published: 2009-10-28 15:01:23
Topics: Piracy Reports 2009
Countries: Seychelles , Somalia

Rachel and Paul Chandler, of yacht Lynn Rival (see previous report here) appear to have fallen victim to kidnappers near the Seychelles, according to reports from Reuters, the BBC and a number of other news sources.

Somali pirates said yesterday (Tuesday 27 October) 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 foreign naval ships and planes fighting piracy in the Indian Ocean also joined the search.

Reports state that a chopper from the European Union Naval Force Somalia - a British-led anti-piracy operation - said it had spotted the vessel 200 miles to the east of Somali port Haradheere. It was towing two skiffs - small, fast boats used by the armed gangs.

Cdr Harper said he was almost certain the vessel was the Lynn Rival. He said: "It's in the area where we've been looking. I don't want to give the family false hope but we are treating this very seriously. We've got two ships in the area and a helicopter."

Paul and Rachel Chandler posted a pre-departure message on their blog last Wednesday before activating their Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) early on Friday, just 60 nautical miles west of Mahe.

A further message was posted on their blog two hours later saying: PLEASE RING SARAH. It is thought the message was an alert for Mrs Chandler's sister.

They were on a 150NM passage southwest to the Amirante Islands, en route to Tanzania.

On Wednesday the couple wrote: "We'll be at sea for 8 to 12 days, maybe 14 as we are now getting into the period of transition between the south monsoon and north monsoon, so the trade winds will be less reliable and we may get more light winds. We probably won't have satellite phone coverage until we're fairly close to the African coast, so we may be out of touch for some time."

The couple have been cruising around the Indian Ocean in their Rival 38, Lynn Rival.

Pirate activity has picked up in the area in recent weeks due to the change in the weather.