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Confirmed - Lynn Rival kidnapped by Somali pirates

By Sue Richards last modified Oct 29, 2009 08:37 PM

Published: 2009-10-29 20:37:37

The British couple, Paul and Rachel Chandler, kidnapped by Somali pirates told today of the moment their yacht was boarded in the middle of the night.

Paul Chandler, 59, told ITV News he and his wife Rachel, 55, were attacked as they slept on board their yacht "Lynn Rival".

The couple are now believed to be captives in a village in Somalia after the pirates moved them onto a Singaporean ship, the Kota Wajar, that was hijacked several weeks ago.

See previous noonsite report on the disappearance of "Lynn Rival" here.

Local fishermen claimed they were met at the village of Ceel Huur, near the pirate stronghold Harardhere, by a convoy of about 30 other pirates in six luxury vehicles early this morning.

Mr Chandler spoke as a naval force searching for the couple revealed they had found their empty yacht floating in international waters. Speaking to ITV News, he described the moment they were hijacked by Somali pirates.

He said: "We were sailing in the waters 60 miles from Victoria in the Seychelles. Three boats came alongside. I was off watch, I was asleep and men with guns came aboard and then we were forced to sail six days...towards Somalia."

Asked if his captives had demanded a ransom, he said:"Not officially. They keep asking for money and took everything of value on the boat. They haven't asked formally for money yet."

Mr Chandler said he was speaking from the captain's cabin of the Kota Wajah, during the call which took place at 11am today (Thursday 29 October). "We are hostage together with this ship," he said.

It is believed that after the call the couple were taken to land.

Today a spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said they found the Chandlers' yacht, the Lynn Rival, in international waters. It was empty. "Royal Naval vessels operating with our international partners under EU, Nato and combined maritime forces will continue to play a full role in efforts to secure Paul and Rachel's release," the MoD said.

From the Daily Mail