31 Oct 2009

Ransom demanded for yacht couple

3:31 pm on 31 October 2009

Somali pirates who kidnapped a British couple ona yacht have issued a ransom demand for $US7 million (£4.3 million) in a call to the BBC.

Paul, 59, and Rachel Chandler, 55, from Kent, were taken hostage by gunmen in the Indian Ocean early on 23 October.

They had been travelling to Tanzania from the Seychelles and their yacht, the Lynn Rival, was later found in international waters.

The caller said: "If they do not harm us, we will not harm them."

He said the couple had been captured by "our brothers who patrol the coast".

Explaining the decision to set the ransom at $US7 million, the caller said NATO operations had destroyed a lot of equipment belonging to local fishermen.

British Foreign Secretary David Milliband has condemned the pirates' actions and said the government will do all it can to secure the couple's safe return.