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Crew Abudcted from French Sailing Yacht off Yemen by Somali Pirates - Update

By Sue Richards last modified Apr 05, 2016 02:18 PM

Published: 2011-09-13 15:07:53
Topics: Piracy Reports 2011
Countries: France , Yemen

As reported by the European Union Naval Force in Somalia - Operation Atalanta (EU NAVFOR)


Hostage rescued after suspected pirate skiff was stopped by EU NAVFOR warship SPS GALICIA

EUNAVFOR Operation Atalanta assets yesterday, 10 September, stopped and boarded a skiff thought to have been involved in an incident with the French Sailing Yacht (SY) TRIBAL KAT. One member of the crew from the yacht was found safe.

The SY TRIBAL KAT was located on 8 September, by the FGS BAYERN, who responded to a distress call from the yacht and located off the coast of Yemen. At that time and following an inspection of the yacht the crew could not be found. Today SPS GALICIA located and trailed the skiff. SPS GALICIA then forced the skiff to stop . One of crew members was released safely and all of the suspect criminals were detained. The other crew member is believed to have been killed when the suspects boarded the yacht.

The skiff has subsequently sunk, however all persons, were safely recovered by a boarding team from SPS GALICIA. All are on board the SPS GALICIA while investigations continue to determine the facts of the incidents. During the operation the hostage was not wounded or injured all the suspect criminals were detained unharmed.

The BBC report that the hostage rescued was French woman Evelyne Colombo. Her and her husband Christian Colombo, a former French navy crewman, were experienced sailors who wanted to see the world and were aware of the risks of sailing through the Gulf of Aden.


French Woman captured by suspected Somali Pirates is released by EUNAVFOR.

On 10 September EUNAVFOR Operation ATALANTA assets intercepted and forcibly stopped a suspected Somali Pirate skiff which was involved in the abduction of a crew member from the French Sailing Yacht (SY) TRIBAL KAT. The successful operation resulted in the safe release of Mrs Colombo, who was unharmed. Seven persons suspected of carrying out the pirating and abduction have been detained.

On 8 September, responding to a distress call, the EU NAVFOR Flagship FGS BAYERN located the SY TRIBAL KAT off the coast of Yemen. During an inspection of the yacht, the crew were found to be missing.

A search of the Gulf of Aden by a United States Navy maritime patrol aircraft and ships and helicopters of the EU NAVFOR located a suspicious skiff on 10 September. Helicopters from the FS SURCOUF and SPS GALICIA were tasked to intercept the skiff and noted suspicious activity onboard.

Using warning shots, SPS GALICIA's helicopter attempted to stop the skiff, which was closing the Somali Coast, but this initially was not heeded. Subsequent gunfire forced the skiff to stop.

An armed boarding team from the SPS GALICIA approached the skiff and the suspected criminals opened fire on them. Following an exchange of fire the skiff capsized.

Mrs Colombo was immediately recovered uninjured. The seven suspected criminals were also recovered from the sea by the boarding team and transferred to the SPS GALICIA. It has subsequently been confirmed that the other crew member of the SY TRIBAL KAT, Mr. Colombo, was killed on 8 September when the SY TRIBAL KAT was attacked by suspected pirates.

Mrs. Colombo has been transferred to FS SURCOUF by helicopter for onward repatriation to France. The seven suspected criminals, three of whom sustained minor wounds during the hostage rescue operation were treated onboard the SPS GALICIA and have now been transferred to the FS SURCOUF.

Investigations continue to determine the details of the incident so that criminal prosecutions can be pursued. The yacht TRIBAL KAT is being sailed to a safe port by a crew from the FS SURCOUF.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Apr 05, 2016 02:17 PM

Somali pirates face trial over 2011 fatal yacht hijacking -