French sailor killed, wife rescued from pirates by Spanish warship off Yemen
EUNAVFOR assets stopped and boarded a skiff thought to have been involved in an incident with the French Sailing Yacht (SY) TRIBAL KAT. One member of the crew from the yacht was found safe.
The SY TRIBAL KAT was located on 8 September, by the EU NAVFOR warship FGS BAYERN, who responded to a distress call from the yacht and located off the coast of Yemen. At that time and following an inspection of the yacht, the crew could not be found. Spanish warship SPS GALICIA, with support from EU NAVFOR warship FS SURCOUF, located and trailed the suspected pirate skiff.
According to the Spanish Defense Ministry, the GALICIA detected a boat suspected of piracy-related activities while on a surveillance mission off the Somali coast. After an initial investigation confirmed the suspicion, the pirates refused to stop and revealed to the GALICIA that they were holding a hostage on board.
The GALICIA proceeded to intercept the pirate vessel with their embarked helicopter and naval warfare team, who fired on the boat’s engine, rendering it inoperable.
Following an exchange of gunfire, the pirate skiff was sunk and members of the Spanish Navy successfully rescued the hostage. Upon getting her to safety, they proceeded to the arrest the 7 pirates.
The other crew member from the Tribal Kat, Christian Colombo, is believed to have been killed when the suspects boarded the yacht.
‘They knew they were taking a risk and everyone advised them not to go,’ a relative told Agence France Presse (AFP) after the event. One of the couple’s daughters, Emilie, posted a message of concern on the blog they were keeping of their high seas adventure.
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