Somalis tried in Paris for yacht crew hijack

2012-05-22 09:13
Paris - Six Somalis go on trial in a Paris court on Tuesday charged with taking the 30 crew of luxury sailing ship Le Ponant hostage in the emerald, pirate-infested waters of the Gulf of Aden in 2008.

The six men, aged 25 to 50, face life in prison if convicted of kidnapping and theft as part of a gang after they were arrested in a French airborne operation on land in Somalia after a ransom was paid.

Only one admits to being a pirate, two admit to having been aboard the elegant 88m three-master but only to sell goats, cigarettes and the mild narcotic khat. The other three deny ever having set foot on the boat.

Le Ponant left the Seychelles on 30 March 2008 with 30 crew and no passengers on board, headed for Yemen where they were to take on passengers for a cruise.

On entering the notorious Gulf of Aden on 04 April , the ship was boarded by pirates armed with assault rifles who forced the crew to head for Somalia.

A week later, the ship's owner, shipping giant CMA-CGM, paid a $2.15m ransom, the crew was freed and the pirates fled into the lawless sands of Somalia.

France hunted the pirates through Somalia, eventually intercepting a 4x4 vehicle as it left a village, finding $200 000 and weapons on board.

The car's six Somali passengers were arrested and Le Ponant crew members positively identified them as the pirates, although some crew have since said they are unsure of the hijackers' identities.

A total of 22 Somalis are being held by France in connection with four hostage-taking incidents.

Last year a Paris court jailed five pirates for between four and eight years for hijacking the Carre d'As in the Gulf of Aden in September 2008. A sixth alleged pirate was acquitted.

Prosecutors are appealing those sentences as being too lenient.

Read more on:    somalia  |  east africa  |  somali pirates

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Amazing solar inventions!

Solar power is lighting up the world, and not just on rooftops anymore.



Plastic on your plate
Prince George the green prince?
Lean, green, drifiting machine
One man's $1 million vision for an eco Africa

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

There is a tendency to get too caught up in group dynamics and high expectations and ideals, that your own personal needs more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.