Some of you may have seen this already
Le Ponant six face French justice
A FRENCH state prosecutor has opened a preliminary judicial enquiry
against six men arrested by French armed forces in Somalia on Friday.
The move follows the release of 30 crew onboard CMA CGM-owned cruise
ship Le Ponant. French police have begun talks with the crew, who
arrived in Paris from Somalia last night.
The six have been charged
with hijacking a ship and arresting and kidnapping citizens with the
intention of demanding a ransom. They are alleged to have been among at
least 20 men involved in the hijack of the Le Ponant, which began in
international waters off North Somalia on 4 April. A stolen fishing boat
was used as a base from which to launch the speed boats that carried out
the attack. The men are alleged to have fired warning shots and later
ransacked the Le Ponant, emptying the ship’s bar.
Le Ponant’s Captain
Patrick Marchesseau told French media that he had managed to open a
channel of communication with authorities without the pirates´
knowledge. A direct dialogue between CMA-CGM director Rodolphe Saadé and
one of the pirates led to the release of the hostages after the company
paid a sum of at least $2M. Marchesseau, the last hostage to leave Le
Ponant, dove into the sea from the ship after the ransom was paid.
six detainees were arrested and part of the ransom was recovered after
the French army fired shots at their getaway car. The French government
has denied claims from Somali government representatives that eight
people were killed and eight injured during the attempt to recover the
The majority of Le Ponant’s crew are French, but the French
government has pointed out that bringing the men to justice in France
would be subject to an agreement with Somalia.