British couple kidnapped by Somali pirates to sail again

6th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

A British couple who were kidnapped by Somali pirates while sailing and held hostage for more than year said Tuesday they planned to embark on a new voyage.

Paul and Rachel Chandler were seized by armed raiders in October 2009 as they sailed from the Seychelles to Tanzania and were held for around 13 months.

The couple, who were beaten by their captors after complaining about being separated, were freed in November last year after a ransom of at least $750,0000 (530,000 euros at current rates) was paid.

Despite the ordeal, the retired couple said they still regarded their 38-foot (11-metre) yacht, Lynn Rival, as their home and were planning a new voyage to the Caribbean in about a year.

"We decided some years ago that (the boat) was our home for as long as we were fit enough to maintain that lifestyle," Paul Chandler told BBC television.

"It's what we do."

His wife insisted they would not allow their ordeal to put them off sailing.

"We love to travel, we love to sail, we love to go to different places and meet different people -- that's what we are," she said.

"If we didn't do that, we would be defeated by this and we are determined to carry on."

The kidnapping of the Chandlers, formerly of Tunbridge Wells in southern England, became one of the most high-profile hostage cases in Somalia's recent, troubled history.

Somali pirates frequently seize passengers and crew from commercial ships and yachts in the dangerous waters off the conflict-ravaged Horn of Africa nation and demand ransoms for their release.

© 2011 AFP

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