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French Ship Still Under Pirate Control

April 8, 2008 By: David Eisen

A French luxury ship is being "kept under surveillance" after it was hijacked by pirates last Friday off the coast of Somalia.     The 64-passenger Le Ponant, a three-masted ship, which was returning to the Mediterranean after a Seychelles itinerary, is carrying no paying guests, but reports say 30 crew members of French and Ukrainian descent are aboard.
Upon receiving the news last week, France's Foreign Ministry said all its means would be deployed to the region to negotiate a resolution and reports now say a French team of specialized anti-terrorist commandos has been sent to Djibouti to handle the hostage situation. In a press conference on Monday, the French Foreign Ministry said it was in contact with the pirates, who reported that the hostages are safe.
Somalia's coastal waters are known to be dangerous and a hotbed for pirate activity. On February 1, the Svitzer Korsakov tugboat was hijacked off the coast of Somalia. The crew was released on March 18 after it was reported that the company paid a hefty ransom.

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