British couple kidnapped by Somali pirates

A British couple sailing from the Seychelles to Tanzania was kidnapped by Somali pirates and is now being held for ransom.

Paul and Rachel Chandler, both in their late 50′s, had been sailing since March on their 38-foot sailboat and keeping a blog about their journey. Last week family and friends alerted authorities that they had not heard from the couple in several days, and shortly after, their boat was found in the waters of the Indian Ocean off Somalia.

Pirates boarded the boat while the Chandlers slept and began demanding money. They took all the items of value off the boat and then forced the couple to onto a container shipp they’d seized earlier this month.

The pirates then called a British news station and allowed Chandler to make a statement saying that he and his wife had been kidnapped. So far the pirates have not asked for a ransom, but the assumption is that they will make their demands soon. Luckily, family members of the Chandlers have indicated that they will pay for the safe return of the couple.

With all the news about pirates attacking ships off the Somali coast, I was surprised that someone would sail a small craft through the area. Pirates usually go for bigger ships, but have attacked smaller boats and yachts as well. They assume the people on board will be wealthy and, as in this case, that their families will pay a ransom for them.