Please select your home edition
Edition
Southern Spars

Hostage sailor killed by French Special forces in rescue operation

by BW Media roundup on 11 Apr 2009
Florent Lemacon, killed by French Special Forces during an attempted rescue .. .
In a rescue operation that went horribly wrong for the cruising sailors held hostage by Somali pirates, the skipper of a yacht has been killed during the attempted rescue.

Two pirates were also killed when a French special forces unit attacked the hijacked vessel as it drifted toward the Somali coast. The pirates opened fire and the special forces team fired back at them.


Four other hostages, including the killed sailor's wife and three-year-old child, were freed from the hijacked yacht after almost a week of being held captive, French officials said. The yacht had been seized on Saturday 400-500 miles off the Somali coastline and heading for the coast of Kenya – NOT in the Gulf of Aden as reported incorrectly in some of the world's press.

The French military attempted the rescue operation after the pirates refused the French government's offers, including an offer to exchange an officer for the mother and child held aboard.

Killed was Florent Lemacon, who was sailing their yacht Tanit with his wife Chloe and their son, Colin and another couple.

In a statement, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said France won't pay blackmail to pirates, Defense News reported.

'Today (Friday) with the threats becoming more and more specific, the pirates refusing the offers made to them and the Tanit heading towards the coast, a operation to free the hostages was decided upon,' said a spokesman for President Nicolas Sarkozy.

French chief of defence staff General Jean-Louis Georgelin said Lemacon died in crossfire between the pirates and the elite troops when they 'went down into the cabins,' adding that the pirates were using Kalashnikov assault rifles.


'Three pirates visible on the deck were neutralised,' he said. 'Two of them died instantaneously and the third fell into the water.'

Defence Minister Herve Morin said that an investigation has been launched into the death. French troops had immobilised the yacht on Thursday by firing into the sails, said Morin. Negotiators had done everything they could to reach an agreement with the pirates, he said. 'We even offered them a ransom.'

The French couple Chloe and Florent Lemacon had left France with their son Colin, then two years old, aboard the 42ft flush-decked Colin Archer cutter and picked up another couple along the way. They were planning to sail via Kenya.

The boat was seized mid-ocean, about 500 miles from the Somali coast and about 1,000 miles from the Seychelles. Florent Lemacon had told his father just before the attack that they had lost the use of the engine. They said that they knew the risks and had taken what they considered to be the least dangerous route through the northern Indian Ocean. Unluckily for them the pirates seem now to have turned their attention southward, just where they were sailing.

The father also told French press that that the crew were experienced sailors who knew the risks. He added that they are penniless, unemployed liveaboards with no means of paying a ransom.

Writing on their internet blog two weeks before the hijacking, Chloe and Florent Lemacon said that they had started sailing with the lights off to avoid detection. 'We are in the middle of the piracy zone, but so far there is nothing to report.

'The danger is there and has indeed become greater over the past months, but the ocean is vast. The pirates must not be allowed to destroy our dream,' they wrote.

The French navy had strongly advised Tanit's crew against travelling to Kenya and warned them of the serious risk posed by pirates in the waters off the coast of Somalia, an army spokesman said.

'They met the crew of the surveillance ship Floreal on March 20 and were strongly advised not to pursue the trip to Kenya, even at great distance from the Somali coast, said army spokesman Christophe Prazuck.

An email message was sent to Tanit on March 27 stating that sailing to Kenya was 'very dangerous' due to a spike in the number of pirate attacks.

France is the only country so far to have intervened successfully for attacked yachts, having used commando type operations to release two previous yachts without any loss of life of the hostages.

Bakewell-White Yacht DesignAncasta Ker 40+ 660x82Zhik Dinghy 660x82

Related Articles

America's Cup - First look at Groupama Team France's AC50 assembly
Groupama Team France has taken delivery of their AC50 hulls built in part in Switzerland by Décision. Groupama Team France has taken delivery of their AC50 hulls built in part in Switzerland by Décision. They have been at the Multiplast-Groupe Carboman facility to be assembled with the parts already built - being the pod and the beams. The team says via social media is to have stopped sailing their AC45S on December 18
Posted today at 12:14 pm
America's Cup - Nespresso returns to back Emirates Team NZ for AC35
Nespresso has reaffirmed its sponsorship of Emirates Team New Zealand in its campaign to win the 35th America’s Cup. Nespresso, the world wide reference for highest quality premium portioned coffee has today reaffirmed its sponsorship of Emirates Team New Zealand in its campaign to win the 35th America’s Cup. Nespresso has a long-standing history of association with the world of sailing and Emirates Team New Zealand.
Posted on 17 Jan
Volvo Ocean Race - Deck of Boat 8 leaves builder
The deck for the only new entry in the 2017/18 Volvo Ocean Race has completed construction at Multiplast The deck for the only new entry in the 2017/18 Volvo Ocean Race has completed construction at Multiplast - Groupe Carboman in Vannes, France. In this video the deck is rolled out of the building facility and is loaded onto a truck, ahead of a 1,200km trip to Persico Marine in Bergamo, Italy.
Posted on 11 Jan
America's Cup - Oracle Team USA - Tech Tuesday - Structural Platform
Learn more about the carbon fiber structure of OTUSA's America's Cup class catamaran with Oracle Team USA. Learn more about the carbon fiber structure of OTUSA's America's Cup class catamaran. How does the fact that the boats are airborne for most of the race affect the hull design, structural engineering - structural engineer Kurt Jordan explains in this video.
Posted on 11 Jan
America's Cup - Ashby confirms that Kiwis will sail AC50 in Auckland
Glenn Ashby has confirmed that Emirates Team NZ will launch their AC50, in Auckland and will do a substantial build up Emirates Team New Zealand skipper, Glenn Ashby has confirmed that Emirates Team New Zealand will launch their AC50, in Auckland and will do a substantial build up on the Waitemata harbour before shipping to Bermuda. Speaking on Newstalk ZB, Ashby said the Emirates Team New Zealand AC50 had been assembled and was having hydraulics, daggerboard systems and electronics being installed at present.
Posted on 8 Jan
America's Cup - Team NZ has a re-think on launch after Protocol change
As a result of the Protocol amendment, Emirates Team New Zealand, like all of the other teams, face a strategic decision Emirates Team New Zealand is back hard at work this week as 2017, the year of the 35th America’s Cup, kicks off at the frantic pace. As a result of the Protocol amendment, Emirates Team New Zealand, like all of the other teams, face a strategic decision of when to launch their America’s Cup Class race boat
Posted on 4 Jan
America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ win 28 day sailing blackout- Updated
The Protocol for the 35th America's Cup has been modified to institute a 28 day blackout sailing period In an deal, apparently brokered by the anonymous Arbitration Panel, the Protocol for the 35th America's Cup has been modified to institute a 28 day blackout sailing period, beginning January 9, 2017. The move follows a Hearing by the as yet unnamed Arbitration Panel for the 35th America's Cup, over the removal of the sailing of the America's Cup Qualifiers from New Zealand.
Posted on 3 Jan
Another WMRT back-to-back heads for Miami
This Easter will present a perfect opportunity to watch World class sailing if you get yourself out on Biscayne Bay This Easter will present a perfect opportunity to watch World class sailing if you get yourself out on Biscayne Bay in Miami. The venue will host not only one but two back-to-back World Match Racing Tour events in the M32 high-speed catamaran during April 2017.
Posted on 3 Jan
Volvo Ocean Race - On for the hat-trick
Meet the man eyeing his third consecutive Volvo Ocean Race win. Phil Harmer, lifted trophy with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing Meet the man eyeing his third consecutive Volvo Ocean Race win. Phil Harmer, who lifted the trophy with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing in 2014-15, and Groupama in 2011-12, could get the hat-trick next edition – and we sat down to chat to him about what's he's been up to since the end of the race, his views on the evolutions ahead of 2017-18, and his plans for the future.
Posted on 31 Dec 2016
America’s Cup accelerating into 2017
The oldest trophy in int'l sport and a competition that will see six teams fighting it out on Bermuda’s Great Sound 2017 is the year of the 35th America’s Cup. The oldest trophy in international sport and a competition that will see six teams fighting it out on Bermuda’s Great Sound for the ultimate prize in sailing, and, arguably, the hardest trophy to win in sport.
Posted on 29 Dec 2016