Nov 082010

Yachtman refused to leave grounded boat

A South African yachtsman who was reported to have been shot dead by Somali pirates after he refused to leave his vessel is alive and safe says EUNAVFOR.

His yacht had been located by the EU NAVFOR warship FS Floreal on 6 November when it was discovered to be sailing suspiciously close to shore.  Despite numerous unsuccessful attempts to contact the yacht, including a flypast by the ship’s helicopter, no answer was received and the French warship launched her boarding team to investigate further.

Upon approaching, the team came under fire from the yacht and a Mayday call was recieved making it clear that pirates were on board and that the crew of three were under their control.

The FS Floreal remained in the vicinity of the pirated vessel. The yacht eventually ran  aground near the shore during the early morning of 7 November. As a result of the grounding, the pirates attempted to remove the three crewmembers ashore. The South African skipper of the yacht refused to leave his vessel and the pirates left with the remaining two crewmembers as hostages.

Once the pirates had left the yacht, the skipper was rescued by the EU NAVFOR warship FS Floreal.  He is confirmed as being safe and is currently on board another EU NAVFOR warship.The whereabouts of the other crew members is currently unknown, despite a comprehensive search by an EU NAVFOR helicopter.

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