Saturday, April 05, 2008
Pirates have stormed a French luxury yacht off the coast of Somalia, taking its 30 crew hostage, prompting Paris to send troops to the area to secure the prisoners' release. The Le Ponant was heading from the Seychelles to the Mediterranean Sea when it was seized in the Gulf of Aden, between Somalia and Yemen. A spokesman for the boat's owner, the Compagnie des Iles du Ponant, says there were no holidaymakers on board. Most of the crew are French.
The Le PonantFrench Prime Minister Francois Fillon described it as a blatant act of piracy, and said he hoped the crew would be released as quickly as possible. France has 2,900 troops stationed in Djibouti, which borders Somalia and is on the Gulf of Aden. Pirate attacks regularly disrupt shipping off the Somali coast, according to the International Maritime Bureau, which reported some 31 cases of piracy in the area in 2007.