Seven pirates held in rescue of French hostage: Spain

10th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Troops from a Spanish warship Saturday detained seven pirates when they rescued a French hostage taken from her yacht in the Gulf of Aden, the Spanish defence ministry said.

"The amphibious ship Galicia succeeded in freeing a French hostage from the catamaran Tribal Kat, held hostage since Thursday afternoon south of Yemen, and proceeded to detain the seven pirates who were holding her," it said in a statement.

The EU anti-piracy patrol earlier reported that a French hostage who was missing from her yacht for two days, was rescued by troops from a Spanish warship in the Gulf of Aden.

It said a second French hostage was not aboard and is still missing.

The Spanish defence ministry statement the Galicia had detected a skiff "engaged in activities related to piracy while it was on a surveillance mission off the Somali coast."

When the skiff ignored an order to stop, the commander of the Galicia ordered his men to open fire.

"At that time, it was discovered that they had a hostage on board, who was a woman."

"The amphibious ship proceeded to intercept the pirate vessel. The operation involved a helicopter and naval warfare team, who fired on the engine of the boat, to disable it."

Following an exchange of fire, the pirate ship sank and the Spanish troops rescued the hostage.

"After getting her to safety, they proceeded to the arrest the seven pirates."

Defence Minister Carme Chacon, has informed her French counterpart, Gerard Longuet, of the incident, the statement said.

A German warship, the FGS Bayern, found the couple's yacht, the Tribal Kat, adrift in waters off Yemen on Thursday. There was no-one on board and the EU Atalanta naval command launched an air and sea search for the attackers.

The waters between Yemen and Somalia are notorious for attacks by pirate gangs, and French yachts have been among the vessels seized in the past. A second yacht went missing at around the same time as the Tribal Kat.

© 2011 AFP

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