Pirates have seized another French yacht off Somalia's northern coast. The French foreign ministry said two French nationals were aboard the yacht that was seized in the Gulf of Aden, where hijackings of vessels have increased in recent months.
Zodiac commando boats arrive at French cruise ship Le Ponant, whose crew was taken hostage by pirates, off Somalia’s coast April 12, 2008.
The Venezuela-registered Carre d'as - a sixteen-metre leisure boat - was hijacked late on Tuesday, the AFP news agency quoted a source in the French foreign ministry in Paris as saying.
Hassan Alore, the minister for natural resources in Somalia's breakaway Puntland region, said the hijackers had commandeered the boat and were taking it to the village of Eyl, south of Puntland's capital Bossaso.
'The pirates already got seven other ships hijacked off the Somalia coast in Eyl village,' Alore added, saying the vessel was currently at Calula village east of Bossaso.
The French foreign ministry said a crisis meeting had been held on Wednesday to begin moves to secure the release of the yacht as quickly as possible.
'France firmly condemns this act of piracy and calls for the immediate release of the people held on board this yacht. Our prime concern is the safety of our compatriots,' the ministry said in a statement.
In April Somali pirates seized a French luxury sailing ship, Le Ponant, with its 30 crew, including 22 French nationals, and held them for a week. They were freed by French naval forces after the reported payment of a ransom who then arrested six alleged pirates as they fleed.
Somali Pirate attack boat
Since April, thirty-two ships have been hijacked in the Gulf of Aden, from many nations of the world including Malaysia, Germany, Iran and Japan.
The United Nations has given permission for foreign ships to enter Somalian waters in the pursuit of pirates, and only last week the US led Combined Task Force, already patrolling the region as part of the 'War on Terror' has resolved to make the safety of the region from pirates a part of its brief, and established a 'maritime security patrol area'.
Important Note for Cruisers intending to transit the Gulf of Aden in the coming season:
Convoys of yachts who wish to transit the dangerous region should contact the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa(CJTF-HOA). This can be done through Noonsite
Please click here to access the Noonsite information