04 April 2009

Incident: Pleasure craft Tanit taken

A French pleasure craft, the 41-ft. Tanit, was taken by pirates off the Somali coast en route to Zanzibar making a French couple and their three year old son hostages. " 'We know where they [the pirates and hostages] are,' said Bernard Kouchner, the French Foreign Minister." (The Times, 04/07/09)

An additional couple had joined the original party on the Tanit en route. "The piracy monitoring group Ecoterra International said the hijacking took place some 640 kilometres (400 miles) off the coast of Ras Hafun, northeast Somalia." The French foreign minister said, "this anti-piracy [rescue] operation initiated by France now involves several countries." (AFP, 04/07/09)

The father of the captive family was described by his own father as "penniless, unemployed ... with no means of paying a ransom." "The skipper had spoken to his father shortly before his boat was seized by pirates, and reported engine failure." (Yachting Monthly, 04/07/09)

The Tanit owners' family blog remains up and is the source for some information about the voyage. (France24, 04/07/09)

French "authorities launched a rescue operation in which four crew members including a child were rescued. However, the skipper was killed in the incident. Two pirates were killed and three others detained by the authorities." (ICC/IMB Website)