Pirates Grab French Yacht Off Somalia

France joins regional force to save 30 crew members
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2008 8:35 PM CDT

(Newser) – Pirates overran a French yacht off the coast of Somalia today and took 30 crew members hostage, AFP reports. Vowing a quick end to the hijacking, France has joined a US-led regional force and may use its own "relatively major military resources within this zone," Prime Minister Francois Fillon said. No passengers were on board, and, "as far as we know, no shots have been fired," a French official said.

A French helicopter has already flown over the 32-cabin, 4-deck luxury Ponant yacht, which was crossing pirate-infested waters between Somalia and Yemen. Most regional pirates "are fishermen-turned-bandits with links to clans (and) local militias who realize this is a lucrative business because in almost every case ransoms are paid," a French security expert said. (Read more pirates stories.)

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