Thursday, October 29, 2009

'Hijacked' pair's yacht is found

The yacht belonging to a British couple feared kidnapped by Somali pirates has been found, according to naval authorities.

Paul and Rachel Chandler, aged 59 and 55, of Kent, sent a distress signal on Friday from the Indian Ocean.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the yacht was discovered during counter-piracy operations on Wednesday night - but the couple were not on board.

The MoD stressed there is no reason to suspect the pair have come to harm.

The yacht, the Lynn Rival, was found in international waters and has been secured by the Royal Navy.

'Peaceful solution'

Mr and Mrs Chandler had been sailing from the Seychelles to Tanzania.

Relatives of the Chandlers met the Somali premier Omar Sharmarke in London on Wednesday who told them he would do anything to "see a peaceful solution".

Mrs Chandler's brother, Stephen Collett, 58, of Ixworth, Suffolk, said: "He (Mr Sharmarke) told us they (pirates) do look after hostages well as they see them as trade goods and want to keep them so they can barter.

"Unfortunately they have no money, it's all in the yacht."