After 388 days as prisoners of Somali pirates, Paul and Rachel Chandler were released Nov. 14. They were among 1,052 hostages taken in 2009, in addition to the 773 hostages taken in the first nine months of 2010, according to a recent report by the International Maritime Bureau. Click through the following slides to read about the Chandlers' ordeal and other high-profile captures.
Farah Abdi Warsameh/AP
While sleeping on their yacht 800 miles off the coast of East Africa, near the Seychelles islands, the British couple was kidnapped and detained for more than 10 months. Paul, 61, and Rachel, 56, both from Kent, were held so long because the pirates thought they had more money, reported the Guardian.
The pirates initially demanded $7 million in ransom for the couple, who had planned to sail the world in their retirement. According to Al Jazeera, the pirates settled for up to $1 million, including $300,000 on Saturday for the couple's ultimate release. The ransom was possibly paid by the Somali expatriate community in London, as the British government has a policy against paying ransom to kidnappers.
"We'd been told we'd be released in 10 days almost every 10 days for the past nine months," Mr. Chandler told the BBC, adding: "You can see from our state that we suffered no serious physical harm."
The Monitor's Scott Baldauff ventured onto the sea with a small band of Somali pirates in 2008, writing: "The brains behind this business – which raked in an estimated $80 million in ransoms in 2008 – can be as sophisticated as a CIA operation, with high-tech resources and highly placed personnel, or as haphazard as a Keystone Kops operation." More than 400 sailors are still being held hostage.
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