Maritime Security

Somali Pirates responsible for French Yacht Carre d’ As hijacking found guilty

Five Somali pirates were jailed for between four and eight years for hijacking a French yacht and taking hostage its French owners in September 2008.  The sixth member was acquitted.

The case was heard in a Paris court for minors due to the fact that one of the defendants was a minor at the time of the attack.

Somali pirates hijacked the yacht Carre d’As whilst transiting the Gulf of Aden only 5 months after French luxury Yacht Le Ponant was hijacked earlier in April 2008.

The kidnappers aged between 21 and 36 have been held since the yacht was liberated by French Special Forces killing one of their group and capturing the remaining six pirates.

The pirate group had originally demanded $2 million for the safe release of the French couple Jean-Yves and Bernadette Delanne owners of Yacht Carre d’As.

This is the first case of piracy to be heard in the French Courts although the kidnappers involved in the Le Ponant hijacking are taking their case to the European Court for Human Rights as they were captured by French Special Forces inside Somalia after fleeing with the ransom money.

French Special Forces also stormed French Yacht Tanit in 2009 however, a stray French bullet it has been claimed during the assault tragically killed Florent Lemacon, father and Captain of the yacht.  Two pirates were killed and a further three Pirates were captured in the assault.  They were taken into custody and are still awaiting trail in France.

On 9th September 2011 a French catamaran “Tribal Kat” was found empty drifting off the coast of Yemen.  Spanish Naval forces rescued Evelyne Colombo the next day but it transpired that her husband Christian Colombo had been killed by the attackers and thrown overboard.  Seven suspected Somali pirates were captured in the incident.

France has continued to aggressively pursue Somali Pirates and has vowed not to give in to blackmail and to bring those responsible to justice.