MEN WITH GUNS CAME ON BOARD ..WE ARE HOSTAGES; Pirate Couple Tell of Terror
Byline: EUAN STRETCH
THE British couple kidnapped by armed pirates spoke for the first time of their terrifying ordeal yesterday.
Paul and Rachel Chandler were captured by the Somali gang as they slept aboard their yacht near the Seychelles seven days ago.
Speaking to ITV from a freight ship where they were being held hostage, Mr Chandler, 59, told newsman Angus Walker of the shocking moment the pirates took them. Here is the transcript:
Walker: Paul, can you describe how you are being held?
Chandler: We are at the moment in the captain's cabin of container ship Kota Wajar.
Walker: Have you been rescued or have you been kidnapped?
Chandler: We are hostages together with this ship.
Walker : Can you describe how you were taken hostage?
Chandler: Yes we were ... miles from the Seychelles when they came alongside - I was off watch - I was asleep and men with guns came aboard last Friday at 2.30am.
Walker: What happened then?
Chandler: Then we were forced to sail on motor towards Somalia.
Walker: How far are you off the Somali coast at the moment do you think?
Chandler: One mile - we are at anchor.
Walker: Do you know the nearest town?
Chandler: Ubdu - due east from Mogadishu - about 200 miles.
Walker: Have your hostage-takers demanded any ransom?
Chandler: Not officially - they kept asking for money and took everything of value on the boat.
Walker: Do you know the nationality of the ship you are being held on?
Chandler: Yes, a Singapore ship.
Walker: How are you being treated? Contact is lost.
Last night it was believed the couple had been taken off the container ship and moved to a village in Somalia, near the pirate stronghold of Haradheere, to stop any rescue.
It came as Gordon Brown urged the gang to release the couple, saying: "Piracy and the taking of hostages is unacceptable in any circumstances." Foreign Secretary David Miliband added the Government would be "using all the mechanisms at our disposal" to ensure the Chandlers' safe return. …