Friday, April 11, 2008

Le Ponant crew freed; hijackers rescued

Early today, the crew of the French cruise ship Le Ponant were freed by their Somali captors after being held hostage for a week. As well, French military forces manage to capture six of the pirates and are now holding them aboard the helicopter carrier Jeanne d'Arc, in international waters off the Somali coast.

According to comments from French officials reported by Lloyd's List and other media sources, the government did not pay any ransom money to the pirates, though there is speculation that CMA CGM - the French shipping firm that owns Le Ponant through a subsidiary - may have paid something to help effect the release of the 30 hostages.

There is currently no word as to just what role the French naval and military forces played in ending this situation, but the Chief of the French Defence Staff, Général Jean-Louis Georgelin, told a press conference that those forces operated with the authorization of Somali authorities.

An analysis of the situation will come shortly.

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