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Somalia: French Yacht Sea-Jacked, Skipper Dies in Rescue Attack

By Sue Richards last modified Apr 19, 2010 11:08 AM

Published: 2010-04-19 11:08:59
Topics: Piracy Reports 2009

Posted on 2009-04-11

On Saturday, 4 April, a French cruising yacht was hi-jacked around 640 km off Ras Hafun in Northeast Somalia. The yacht was heading towards the archipelago of Zanzibar before being seized

Taken hostage were the owners, French couple Chloe and Florent Lemacon, their son Colin (aged 3) and two male friends.

It is thought the yacht might have at first looked to the pirates like one of the smaller vessels coming to Somalia. The 5 pirates boarded the yacht, abandoned their mother-ship - a captured Yemeni fishing vessel - and commandeered the yacht to the coast.

During its passage to the Somali coast, the yacht and the people on board came several times (reports speak of 8 overflights) under surveillance by naval aircraft, which caused heightened friction among the 14 pirates and a frenzy on board.

On Thursday 9 April, 20 miles from the Somali coast, the French Navy carried out a series of attacks to free the hostages, resulting in the capture of 3 pirates - 2 were shot dead. Sadly skipper and father Florent Lemacon, was also shot dead during the attack.

It is currently not known whether he was killed by the pirates or caught in the crossfire.

The other 4 hostages were freed.

For further details see news report of sea-jacking and news report of rescue.