Tuesday 19 November 2019

Couple kidnapped by Somali pirates take to the high seas again

Paul Chandler, 57, (right) and his wife Rachel Chandler 60. Photo: PA
Paul Chandler, 57, (right) and his wife Rachel Chandler 60. Photo: PA

John Fahey

A couple who were held hostage for more than a year by Somali pirates will take to the seas again in the yacht they were sailing when they were kidnapped.

Paul and Rachel Chandler spent 388 days in captivity after armed raiders boarded their 38ft yacht, Lynn Rival, as they sailed from the Seychelles to Tanzania in notoriously dangerous waters.

The retired pair, from Tunbridge Wells in Kent, were released last November after a ransom of up to one million dollars (£620,000) was paid.

Today the couple, who were beaten by their captors when they refused to be separated, told BBC Breakfast the boat was their home and they loved to travel.

The couple, who have written a book about their experience, Hostage, will sail to the Caribbean "this time next year".

Mr Chandler, 60, said: "We decided some years ago that (the boat) was our home for as long as we were fit enough to maintain that lifestyle.

"It's what we do."

Asked if they were worried the ordeal could be repeated, Mrs Chandler, 56, said: "If you have an adventurous spirit, there are always risks.

"Independent travellers always face risks.

"And you can't think about it.

"We love to travel, we love to sail, we love to go to different places and meet different people - that's what we are.

"If we didn't do that, we would be defeated by this and we are determined to carry on."

Mr Chandler said the majority of the kidnappers were "misguided youths".

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