Somalis tried in Paris for luxury yacht crew hijack

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 88-metre 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 March 30, 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 April 4, 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 $2.15-million (1.7-million-euro) 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 dollars 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.

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Docu exposes destruction of PH marine resources VERA Files - The Inbox
    Docu exposes destruction of PH marine resources

    By Kiersnerr Gerwin B. Tacadena, VERA Files “Gutom (hunger),” Sen. Loren Legarda said is what’s in store for the Filipino people if destruction of our marine resources is not stopped. Legarda, chair of the Senate committee on Environmetn and Natural … Continue reading → …

  • ‘Yolanda’ fiberglass boats modern-day Noah’s ark VERA Files - The Inbox
    ‘Yolanda’ fiberglass boats modern-day Noah’s ark

    By Jane Dasal, VERA Files If you want to save the earth, build a boat. That's what a group of environmentalists is saying, especially if you want to save both the forests and fishermen affected by supertyphoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan). “Haiyan … Continue reading → …

  • Environmental groups oppose proposed coal-fired power plants VERA Files - The Inbox
    Environmental groups oppose proposed coal-fired power plants

    By Patricia Isabel Gloria, VERA Files GROUPS opposed to the building of 25 coal-fired power plants within the next six years gathered outside the gates of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Tuesday, International Earth Day, as … Continue reading → …

POLL
Loading...
Poll Choice Options