Cruising couple spent 388 days in captivity
Cruising sailors Paul and Rachel Chandler, who were held for more than a year after they were taken hostage by Somali pirates, have arrived in Nairobi after they were released by their captors.
The couple were released 388 days after they were taken by force from their yacht, Lynn Rival, as a Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship looked on helpless.
Mr Chandler told the BBC: “We’re fine, we’re rather skinny and bony but we’re fine.”
The couple were told they were to be released two days ago, he said. “We were told on Friday in a way which gave us some
confidence to believe it. Otherwise we’d been told we’d be released in
10 days almost every 10 days for the past nine months. So we’d taken all
these suggestions with a pinch of salt.”
Asked if he had felt their lives had been in danger during
captivity, he said: “That’s something we’ll talk about later, but we
were not really directly endangered by the gang, after the initial
The Times reports that the couple were ‘moved to different camps across Somalia in the last year
and have been forced to live in rag tents while being guarded by armed men.
Their diet is believed to have consisted of spaghetti and goat meat.’
The British Government has always refused to pay a ransom, buit reports suggest that the Chandlers were released after a ransom was paid.
The couple were Cruising Association members – and president Stuart Bradley explains “The Cruising
Association has kept in close touch with representatives of their family throughout
and followed their wishes. Soon after Paul and
Rachel’s capture we were advised that publicity only encourages hostage-takers
to believe their ransom demands would be met and that it would delay the
release of Paul and Rachel Chandler. We have maintained silence until now in
order to support the various attempts to secure their release.”