Thursday, October 29, 2009


A British man has told how he and his wife were kidnapped by armed pirates while the pair slept aboard their yacht in the Indian Ocean.
Paul Chandler, of Kent, speaking by phone to ITV news, said: "I was asleep and men with guns came aboard."
Mr Chandler, 59, said he and his wife, Rachel, 55, are currently being held hostage on board a container ship.
Their yacht was found during counter-piracy operations after a major multi-national search for the pair began.
Mr Chandler, from Tunbridge Wells, said the raid had come in the early hours.
He said: "I was off watch. I was asleep and men with guns came aboard. It was on Friday last week at 0230."
The kidnapped man's brother-in-law, Stephen Collett, 58, of Ixworth, Suffolk, has confirmed that the voice in the phone call was that of Mr Chandler.
The armed pirates forced the pair to sail towards Somalia after their boat was captured.
Searches for the Chandlers began on Friday after the pair sent a distress signal.

Mr Chandler said the couple were being held hostage on a Singapore-registered container ship called the Kota Wajah. He was speaking from the captain's cabin at 1100 GMT (1400 local time).
He said their captors had not officially asked for a ransom.
"They kept asking for money and took everything of value on the boat," he added.
Mr Chandler said they were being held hostage on the container ship.
He said the vessel was then about a mile off the coast of Somalia, and the nearest town was Ubdu. Correspondents say he may have been referring to Hobyo.
He was asked how they were being treated, but the line was lost before Mr Chandler could answer.
Local fishermen reported seeing the pair being taken to a village in Somalia after the telephone call.
One of the fishermen, Dahir Dabadhahan, said two boats arrived in the village of Ceel Huur, near the pirate stronghold Harardheere, and were met by a convoy of about 30 other pirates in six luxury vehicles.
He said: "The pirates opened fire into the air, waving us to move away."
A spokeswoman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: "Hostage taking is never justified.
"Paul and Rachel are blameless tourists and they should be released immediately and unconditionally.

"The families are deeply concerned for the safety of their loved ones.
"Foreign and Commonwealth Office staff are in close contact with them and are offering support."
Whitehall officials said Cobra, the Cabinet Office crisis management team, had met several times over the kidnapping of the Chandlers.
Earlier, the Ministry of Defence said the couple's empty yacht had been found but there was no reason to suspect they had come to harm.
A spokesman said Royal Navy vessels operating with international partners under EU, Nato and combined maritime forces would continue to play a full role in efforts to secure their release.
Relatives of the Chandlers met the Somali premier Omar Sharmarke in London on Wednesday who told them he would do anything to "see a peaceful solution".
The Somali government - which only has nominal authority in large parts of the country - said it was doing everything possible to locate them.
Mr and Mrs Chandler had been sailing from the Seychelles to Tanzania.



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