September 16, 2008
France frees yacht and hostage couple
France has freed Jean-Yves Delanne, and his wife Bernardette Delanne, taken hostage by Somali pirates when their yacht Carré d'As was hijacked September 2.
The couple are now on board the French frigate Courbet--along with six captured pirates. The frigate and the Carré d'As are headed for Djibouti.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said that he gave the order for the rescue operation at 9.00 PM yesterday.
It involved 30 marine commandos from the Courbet and took place as the pirates were taking the Carré d'As towards the location off Eyl where they are holding several hostage vessels and their crews.
In the course of the operation, one pirate was killed.
The rescue calls into question earlier reports that the French couple had been taken off the yacht and that pirates might be using it as a decoy.
The rescue took place against a situation in which pirate activity in the Gulf of Aden is proliferating. The latest reported hijacking is the Hong Kong flagged chemical tanker Stolt Valor, with a crew of 22. It was sailing in a maritime security corridor patrolled by an international coalition of warships and aircraft when it was attacked.
European Foreign Ministers meeting in Brussels yesterday called for further development of a plan for an EU naval force to take action against the pirates.