Monday, November 16, 2009

British Couple... still captured by pirates

Despite earlier reports that the pirates holding British Couple, Paul and Rachel Chandler, their captors have lately threatened their lives if their demands are not met.On October 30:
A British woman who is being held by Somali pirates with her husband after their yacht was hijacked said in a phone call broadcast Friday that the couple were "bearing up" and she described her captors as "very hospitable."

Rachel Chandler told her brother, Stephen Collett, in a telephone call broadcast by ITV News that she is fine.

"They tell us that we're safe and we shouldn't worry and that if we want anything they will provide it in terms of food and water and everything like that," she said, according to a transcript. "They are very hospitable people so don't worry ... Physically we're fine, physically we're healthy."

The BBC says the pirates have called the broadcaster to demand $7 million in return for releasing the couple.

By November 8:

The pirates appeared to have been angered by a lack of communication from either the Foreign Office or the Chandlers’ family. “I’m waiting for a response from the family, but no one is making any calls to us,” Omer said.

The threats against the Chandlers indicated mounting anger among the pirates, who have generally treated their hostages well. However, the majority of their targets have been well- insured commercial vessels.

The hostages are generally kept aboard their ships for months until a ransom is paid, often running into millions of dollars.

According to Somali sources, the Chandlers have fallen foul of an internecine feud.

They are being held by an inexperienced gang who did not realise how difficult it would be to defend a small yacht and so abandoned it.

The pirates have spoken to many news outlets, including the BBC and Fox News. Most recently the event has been in the news because a British Ship may have allowed the couple to be captured by their inaction.

A Royal Navy ship withheld fire as it watched Somali pirates kidnap a British couple on the high seas, British authorities said Friday.

Previously the British Defense Ministry said it could not rescue Paul and Rachel Chandler on Oct. 23 because the couple was already on the pirates' ship and their yacht abandoned when the Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker Wave Knight arrived at the scene, The Times of London reported.

But a ministry spokesman confirmed Friday the Wave Knight arrived as the couple was being transferred from their yacht to the pirate's ship 50 feet away. The crew was ordered not to intervene because the pirates were carrying AK-47 assault rifles and there was fear a gun battle would result in the hostages being killed.

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