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No Turkey Christmas for Kidnapped Sailors

By Val Ellis last modified Dec 24, 2009 11:16 AM

Published: 2009-12-24 11:16:06

Kidnapped sailors Paul and Rachel Chandler, into their third month as captives of Somali pirates, will miss out on turkey, but will be allowed chips, pasta, fish or beer to celebrate Christmas, according to a pirate commander - but there is no sign of any meaningful negotiations for their release.

The cruising couple were kidnapped on October 23 from their yacht Lynn Rival while British ship the Wave Knight stood by helplessly, afraid to attack lest the Chandlers themselves be harmed.

The long time cruising couple had been on their way from the Seychelles to Tanzania, through waters in which two yachts had been kidnapped some months earlier. Cruising sailors travelling with the couple and who have since been in communication with Sail-World say they had urged them not to undertake the risky journey.

The commander told a British newspaper "We will never deny them their Christmas. We respect their liberty, their life (sic) and their religion because no religion allows violation against another one. We will prepare their favourite food if they want to eat for the occasion." He added that they could have something like chips, pasta, fish or beer. "I think all their orders will not be available but we shall try to make them happy with their Christmas in captivity."

Because of gangs of fundamentalist Islamic insurgents in the area who could kidnap the couple from the pirates, they have been moving the couple from safe house to safe house in the region of Haradheere on the coast of Somalia.

Paul Chandler was reported as making yet another plea to the British Government to start negotiations with the pirates, "so that perhaps our lives can be brought back."

by Nancy Knudsen 5:36 AM Wed 23 Dec 2009 GMT