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Old 04-04-2008, 06:46 PM   #1
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Associated Press report 4 April 2008



PARIS, France (AP) -- Pirates seized control of a French cruise ship Friday off the coast of Somalia, France's Foreign Ministry said.

A ministry official said details about the attack were scarce, and it was not clear how many crew members were on board the ship or if there were any passengers.

The ship is in the high seas in the Gulf of Aden, off the coast of Somalia in the Indian Ocean.

The official declined to identify the vessel or its owner.

The ministry has set up a crisis center to deal with the situation, said the official, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

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MMNETSEA has information that the "Ship" is the M/Y "Le Ponant" - normally carrying a crew of 30.

The above report has the Ship in 2 places at once 'The ship is in the high seas in the Gulf of Aden, off the coast of Somalia in the Indian Ocean.'

Le_Ponant.jpg
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Old 04-04-2008, 11:08 PM   #2
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BBC and AP both now confirm that vessel is the "Le Ponant" - returning without passengers from the Seychelles to the Med. It won't be difficult to find it, the problem will be making sure the crew are not at risk when the French, German and American Cavalry arrive on the horizon.
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Old 04-07-2008, 05:25 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by MMNETSEA View Post
BBC and AP both now confirm that vessel is the "Le Ponant" - returning without passengers from the Seychelles to the Med. It won't be difficult to find it, the problem will be making sure the crew are not at risk when the French, German and American Cavalry arrive on the horizon.
The Ponant now anchored off Eil (Eyl or Bedia) at 7º 57.281' N x 49º 51.49E

Eil___le_Ponant.jpg

Eil Village

Eil_Village.jpg

Wiki info on Eil : Link
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Old 04-07-2008, 10:09 PM   #4
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f0838158_ec42_4a7b_97f5_136766029f41.hmedium_1_.jpgShould be interesting to see how this plays out.

http://allafrica.com/stories/200804071893.html

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23982788/

http://www.ponant.com/index.php?nav=IE&lang=en
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Old 04-07-2008, 10:22 PM   #5
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"Pirates holding French yacht shoot at militia"

Full story HERE (Click on the photo for more pics)
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Old 04-09-2008, 04:49 PM   #6
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Anything new on this situation?
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Old 04-09-2008, 11:34 PM   #7
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Anything new on this situation?
A couple of hours ago - Lloyds reported :-

"There was no fresh news regarding the Le Ponant and its more than 30 crew members yesterday. The vessel was believed to be still at anchor under pirate control off the coastal town of Garacad, south of the port of Eyl.

French Defence Minister Hervé Morin said that the government was still in contact with the pirates but wanted to give no information which might endanger the lives of the vessel’s crew.

Meanwhile, the head of British shipping union Nautilus UK has written to foreign secretary David Miliband, asking him to outline the government’s position on the payment of ransom for seafarers taken captive by pirates.

He also raises the issue of the support available to shipping from friendly naval forces in piracy hotspots, and backs International Maritime Organization calls for governments to be more proactive in providing protection.

The letter from general secretary Brian Orrell comes after a Nautilus UK member was involved in the hijack of St Vincent & Grenadines-flagged tug Svitzer Korsakov, with the stand-off only resolved after the owners reportedly paid £350,000 ($689, 476) to the criminals to secure the release of the vessel and crew.

Mr Orrell speaks of a “disturbing deterioration in the nature of the incidents and the levels of violence and intimidation being used against seafarers”.

He goes on: ”In this context, I wish to request that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office reconsiders its policies on piracy, and notably in the areas off Somalia.

“In particular, it is important to have assurances about the levels of assistance and protection for British seafarers – irrespective of the flag of their ship – operating in high-risk waters.”

COMMENT :-

In view of the continuous warnings to keep at least 200 nm off the East Coast of Somalia - one wonders why the Master of the Le Ponant decided to stay close to the coast on his way north from the Seychelles. Another question is how the Pirates managed to take this ship - which is said to be capable of 26 knots.
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Old 04-10-2008, 04:40 AM   #8
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Just Reported :- the French Government have dispatched the GIGN to the area when Le Ponant is anchored.

click on GIGN
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Old 04-10-2008, 03:38 PM   #9
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Like I said before, this will be interesting to see played out. It could invoke some changes...hopefully!

France negotiates with pirates who hijacked French luxury yacht Le Ponant off coast of Somalia

April 9, 2008

In France, the families of the 22 French hostages meet in Paris with Nicolas Sarkozy as France talks to Le Ponant’s attackers.

22 French nationals were taken hostage aboard the French luxury yacht Le Ponantby 10-12 armed pirates who boarded and hijacked the boat last Friday in the Gulf of Aden as it was on its way from the Seychelles to the Mediterranean.

The families of the French crew members met in Paris yesterday with President of France Nicolas Sarkozy. Foreign Affairs Minister of France Bernard Kouchner says the government of France is in communication with the pirates and that everyone hopes the matter can be resolved “without any bloodshed,” adding the the process could take some time. But while the French negotiate, they are also putting French special forces in place, leaving options open for a more forceful operation. The boat is being tracked from the air by surveillance aircraft and from the water by battleships in the area. In addition to the 22 French nationals, there are also some 10 more crew or Ukrainian and South Korean descent. No passengers for France or elsewhere were aboard at the time of the incident.

The 32-cabin Le Ponantis equipped with lounges, bar and a restaurant, is one of three operated by the French cruise operator CMA-CGM, based in Marseille, which describes itself as France’s leading cruise provider. With a capacity for 64 passengers, it offers cruises in the Gulf region, including between Egypt and Aqaba in Jordan, and off the coast of Oman. Le Ponant was set to pick up passangers in Malta later this month.

The part of the Indian Ocean where the Ponantwas attacked has become a known nest of pirates and hijackers, who regularly seize civilian vessels and then demand ransom for passengers and crew. In 2007 alone, 25 incidents took place in the waters off Somalia. Protection convoys are ordered for ships bringing aid to Somalia as these are tempting targets for the pirates. The International Maritime Bureau has reported that global pirate attacks rose 10 percent in 2007, marking the first increase in three years. The Bureau has advised civilian vessels to steer clear of the area. The hijacking of the Ponant was the second attack in the area in two days.

The French warship Le Commandant Rouen has been diverted from NATO’s Afghanistan operation to join the Yemeni coast guard in the hunt for and rescue of the captured French yacht.

Opinion is mixed on France’s approach to the crisis, with some saying that any appearance of giving in to the pirates’ demands will only encourage similar incidents.
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Old 04-11-2008, 11:15 AM   #10
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Pirates release French yacht crew

The crew of a luxury French yacht held by pirates near Somalia have been freed "without incident", French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said.

He thanked the French military for their role in freeing the 30 hostages on board The Ponant which was taken in the Gulf of Aden last Friday.

The 850-tonne, three-masted yacht was sailing back to the Mediterranean from the Seychelles when it was seized.

Somali coastal waters are known to be among the most hazardous in the world.

More than 25 ships were seized by pirates there in 2007.

"The president expresses his deep gratitude to the French armed forces and all the state services which enabled a rapid and peaceful solution to this hostage-taking," Mr Sarkozy's statement said, without giving further details.

France has troops in nearby Djibouti and also participates in a multinational naval force that patrols this part of the Indian Ocean.

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Old 04-11-2008, 03:24 PM   #11
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So do you think a ransom was paid?
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Old 04-15-2008, 08:58 PM   #12
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.quote name='Trim50' date='Apr 11 2008, 09:24 AM' post='19903']

So do you think a ransom was paid?

[/quote]

I have not seen any info in the papers about the incident. I would assume the money was paid. If there had been military intervention, you would have heard about it somewhere in the media. The French have paid before. What is the status of the ship? If it is still in the pirates’ hands, it is probably in need of a refit. Patching a few bullet holes would not be that much more work. Turning the pirates into fish bait may help the fish population.
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Old 04-15-2008, 09:20 PM   #13
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Yes, the ship's owners paid a ransom, and the crew was released by the pirates. Once the the crew had been brought ashore safely, French attack helicopters tracked the pirates, believed to be fishermen, to the village of Jariban and moved in when they saw some of them attempting to flee the scene.

A sniper disabled the engine of the get-away car, while another helicopter dropped off three French commandos who captured six of the 12 pirates. The pirates "gave themselves up without too much difficulty", the French general said, adding that those captured would be handed over to French justice officials.
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