Four missing after French boat found off Yemen

Posted: 09/10/2011 in all marine news

Swissinfo –

Four people were thought to have been kidnapped by pirates after international forces found a French yacht lying unoccupied off the coast of Yemen, a source from the Yemeni coast guard’s office said on Friday.

The French Foreign Ministry said earlier in the day that a French-registered boat had been found by a German frigate with no passengers on it after making an emergency call late on Thursday.

“The yacht left Aden on September 4 and we lost contact with them on Thursday until international forces found it off the coast of al-Mahra,” the source said, adding that he did not know the crew’s nationality.

He added that they had probably been abducted by pirates.

The Al-Mahra governorate is in the east of Yemen and borders the sultanate of Oman.

The deputy director of the coast guard, Abdulrahman Moussa, issued a statement on Yemeni state news agency Saba denying the passengers’ disappearance.

He said international patrols had rescued a man and his wife from the yacht.

Shipping and maritime sources say Somali pirates have been using the remote island of Socotra, close to the Mahra coastline, as a refuelling hub and that sea borne gangs have been exploiting political turmoil in Yemen.

Scores of vessels in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden have been hijacked with pirates making tens of millions of dollars in ransom from commandeering the ships and seizing hostages.

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