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Gulf of Aden, Somalia - French Yacht Hijacked

By Sue Richards last modified Jan 21, 2009 09:18 PM

Published: 2009-01-21 21:18:13
Topics: Piracy Reports 2008

Tuesday 3 September, 2008

Jean-Yves and Bernadette Delanne from Tahiti were seized aboard their 16m (50ft) yacht "Carre d’As", on Tuesday 3 September, on their way from Australia to France. The pirates took the hostages to the Somali coast near Alula (written Caluula) at the tip of the Horn of Africa, from where part of the gang dragged them into a remote hideout in the Xaabo (pronounced: Hawo) mountains.

It is thought the yacht was then taken to sea again by the heavily armed gunmen. While an attempt to sell the yacht at ports in the Gulf states cannot be ruled out, it is presumed that "Carre d'As" is at present being used to hunt for other ships. Warnings are that the vessel likely is, or will be used to signal ships at sea as being under distress (simulating an engine failure or other emergency at sea), while hiding a small attack speedboat from view of any ships responding to the rescue. See report here.

The French couple spoke to their daughter, Alizee, by satellite telephone shortly after they were kidnapped, and told her that they were fine.

The pirates have made unusual demands for the release of these latest hostages demanding in excess of 1.4 million US dollars and the return of the 6 Somali prisoners, which the French Navy had taken after the negotiated and paid-for release of the French Luxury Yacht Le Ponant. These accused pirates have been facing trial in Paris since capture.

Update 16 September 2008.

Two weeks after their capture - Jean-Yves and Bernadette Delanne were freed by the French army. The French president's office confirmed, "The two French nationals are safe and sound".

One pirate was killed and six others captured.