Please select your home edition
Edition
Protector 728x90

Done it Again! French Storm Pirates, free Sailors

by Henry Samuel, Telegraph/Sail-World on 17 Sep 2008
French commandos and Navy plane - Getty Image .. .
They've done it again! President Nicolas Sarkozy has announced that French commandos stormed the sailing boat Carre D'As to free two French sailors who were being held by heavily-armed Somali pirates.

The French are emerging as the heroes of the major pirate threat to world shipping and cruising sailors in the Gulf of Aden. While other nations pay ransoms, thus encouraging ongoing piracy, the French have for the second time this year rescued French sailors from pirates.


One pirate was killed and another six captured in the lightning raid, which lasted 10 minutes. The hostages were unharmed.

The pirates are on their way to France, where they will join another six captured in the other spectacular French land rescue operation earlier this year.

With the backing from a French warship stationed nearby, some thirty commandos swooped on the pirates. They received support from Germany and Malaysia, according to the Elysée.

The rescue mission coincided with the news that a Hong Kong-registered chemical tanker has been seized and its 22 crew members taken hostage in the same area.

'France will not allow crime to pay,' declared Mr Sarkozy, who dispatched the commando unit after receiving information that the pirates were approaching a highly-protected coastal base, where rescue efforts would have been far riskier.

'This operation is a warning to all those who engage in criminal activity,' said the French president, who called for an international effort to protect ships in the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden and surrounding area - reputedly the world's most dangerous.

'This is a call for the mobilisation of the international community,' he said.

Hijackers captured Jean-Yves Delanne and his wife Bernadette from their 52-foot yacht, the Carré d'As, on September 2. They had reportedly demanded a $1.4 million ransom. Mr Sarkozy confirmed a ransom had been demanded, but gave no further details.

The pirates were intercepted while heading for the coastal base in the town of Eyl, in Somalia's northeastern semi-autonomous Puntland region.

The freed hostages are sailing enthusiasts who live in Tahiti and had been passing through the Gulf of Aden on their way from Australia to the French Atlantic port of La Rochelle when they were seized.

Their yacht was to be escorted back to Djibouti, where France has a military base.

French commandos intervened on April 11 after Somali pirates seized a French luxury yacht, Le Ponant, and its 30 crew, holding them hostage for a week.

Authorities in Puntland welcomed the latest French military operation.

'The state of Puntland encourages such steps and calls on other governments whose nationals are being held to do the same thing,' said a presidential advisor.

His words came amid efforts to secure the release of several other vessels still in the hands of pirates in the area – the latest being the Hong-Kong registered chemical tanker.

'The incident happened in the maritime security corridor that is patrolled by coalition naval forces,' said the head of the International Maritime Bureau Piracy Reporting Centre. 'The situation (in the Gulf of Aden) is dangerous. We urge the UN and the international community with naval assets in the region to stop this menace,' he said.

Background:

Around 50 ships, mainly merchant vessels, have been attacked by pirates off Somalia's 2,300 miles of coastline since the beginning of the year, and dozens have been captured. According to Mr Sarkozy, Somali pirates are currently holding 150 people and at least 15 ships.

A French tuna fishing boat came under rocket attack some 700 kilometres off the Somali coast on Saturday. Pirates are becoming increasingly emboldened and now target boats in an area the size of France off the Somali coast.

A pirate mother ship is suspected of operating in the area, sending out small, heavily armed speed boats when it spots a passing vessel.

On Saturday a Japanese-operated oil tanker came under fire, while a Spanish trawler was targeted last week.

In June, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution authorising foreign warships to enter Somalia's territorial waters with the government's consent. However, at present very few foreign warships patrol the area.

European foreign ministers agreed on Monday to set up a special unit to coordinate the anti-piracy effort off Somalia, raising the possibility of a future EU naval mission.

Yemen, once a source of pirates, is also now taking a leading role in solving the problem. In October they will host the second conference on pirates with 20 nations attending, and set up three pirate monitoring centres on Yemeni soil (See separate story)

Barz Optics - Melanin LensesPredictWind.com 2014Wildwind 2016 660x82

Related Articles

America's Cup - Talbot Wilson reports from the Practice Series
Bermudan based sailing journalist, Talbot Wilson looks at the first five day practice racing session just concluded Talbot Wilson looks at the first five day practice racing session just concluded in Bermuda. All five America’s Cup teams training in Bermuda have wrapped up the first of six “practice racing periods” allowed under the latest changes to the 2017 America’s Cup protocol. The protocol changes were approved March 16 by the defender, Oracle Team USA and signed by the four challengers in Bermuda.
Posted today at 12:52 am
Volvo Ocean Race - Team AkzoNobel leaves Persico
The Simeon Tienpont skippered Team AkzoNobel Volvo65 has left the building facility at Persico Marine in Bergamo The Simeon Tienpont skippered Team AkzoNobel Volvo65 has left the building facility at Persico Marine in Bergamo, Italy to The Boatyard in Lisbon under the custodianship of GAC Pindar. Before she left the yard at Persico the team had a celebration to mark the end of the build phase.
Posted on 27 Mar
America's Cup - First five day round of practice racing concludes
The latest round of America’s Cup Class (ACC) practice racing ahead of the 35th America’s Cup has concluded The latest round of America’s Cup Class (ACC) practice racing ahead of the 35th America’s Cup concluded on a beautiful spring Sunday on the Great Sound. All five America’s Cup teams now based in Bermuda took part in a series of match races in varied conditions, racing each other on a course that closely mirrors that to be used in May and June 2017
Posted on 27 Mar
America's Cup - Oracle picks up some bow protection for docking
Bangin' the Corner team talk Jimmy and the boys on Oracle Team USA through the process of getting some bow protection The Bangin' the Corner team talk Jimmy and the boys on Oracle Team USA through the process of getting some bow protection for their new AC50, before they dock after a long day on the Great Sound, and don't dock like Ben did.
Posted on 26 Mar
Bureau Vallée 2 back in the water in Brittany
The former Banque Populaire VIII aboard which Armel Le Cléac’h won the last Vendée Globe was put back in the water The former Banque Populaire VIII aboard which Armel Le Cléac’h won the last Vendée Globe was put back in the water on Friday in Lorient (Brittany), with her new decoration in the colours of Bureau Vallée.
Posted on 25 Mar
America's Cup - Bermuda practice racing videos March 24, 2017
MyislandhomeBDA is videoing the Practice racing and training with the five teams in Bermuda MyislandhomeBDA is videoing the Practice racing and training with the five teams who are based in the venue for the 2017 America's Cup. Here's the set from March 24,2017
Posted on 25 Mar
America's Cup - Coutts hits back at critics over Protocol change
Russell Coutts, has responded to criticism over the recent changes to the 35th America's Cup Protocol Five times America's Cup winner and CEO of the America's Cup Events Authority, Russell Coutts, has responded to criticism over the recent changes to the 35th America's Cup Protocol, allowing testing and racing between Challengers and the Defender in Bermuda ahead of the start of the Qualifiers.
Posted on 24 Mar
America's Cup - Groupama Team France's AC50 sailing in Bermuda - Video
Groupama Team France has had her first sail in Bermuda with the AC50 looking impressive in the video shot by the team. Groupama Team France has had her first sail in Bermuda with the AC50 looking impressive in the video shot by the team.
Posted on 24 Mar
America's Cup - Images of Emirates Team NZ flypast Devonport
Image gallery shot as Emirates Team New Zealand returned in the late afternoon from another four hour race session Image gallery shot as Emirates Team New Zealand returned in the late afternoon from another four hour race training session on the Waitemata harbour. Our cameras were on Devonport Wharf to catch the sequence - and for the first time a wide angle lens had to be used.
Posted on 23 Mar
America's Cup – Get to know Iain Murray and the ACRM
He has enjoyed a long and illustrious career since he first started sailing at the age of nine in his native Sydney. Throughout its 166 year history the rivalries between owners, skippers, crews, yacht clubs, fans and nations have been some of the most intriguing facets of the competition for the world’s oldest sporting trophy.
Posted on 23 Mar