Skip to comments.Exclusive: French warship diverted to free luxury yacht crew seized by pirates off Somalia
Posted on 04/05/2008 7:39:50 AM PDT by HAL9000
The Le Ponant pleasure yacht was seized Friday in international waters opposite Somalia without passengers on route from the Seychelles to Aden Port and the Mediterranean after its first pleasure trip of the summer season in the Indian Ocean. The 32-man crew was taken hostage.
Our shipping correspondent reports that the French Le Commandant Rouen warship was diverted from NATOs Afghanistan operation to join the Yemeni coast guard in the hunt for and rescue of the captured craft. The Le Ponant caters to 64 high-profile luxury tourists, one of three owned by Le Compagnie Des Iles du Ponant, a subsidiary of the huge Lebanese-French CMA CGM.
DEBKAfiles sources note that the Gulf of Aden and Somali shores are rife with pirates. Last year, 24 civilian craft were commandeered by pirates. In one case, the American Navys USS Porter opened fire on a pirate ship threatening a Japanese tanker; in another, pirates released a Danish merchant vessel with hostages against a large ransom after holding them for two months.
Thats a fine kettle of fish.. NOW the pirates can take over a French Warship.. for ransome.. if the pirates can stand the smell..
DEBKA aside, a French warship has been assigned to this task.
You had me going until I got to that.
debka has sources?
Can the pirates feed that many more hostages? Perhaps the plan is to surrender them to death.
Not to get in the way of the French Navy-bashing, but are there any squids out there who know whether the French are in command of CTF-150? Serious question, I know . . . please return to your regularly scheduled programming.
There's NO ROMANCE here folks! Call it what it is -- TERRORISM !!!
Maybe the ransom figure demanded was too high.
It's the one with the propellers in the front...aids in rapid retreat.
> I believe we need to be changing the word “Pirates”
> to “Terrorists”
And to what religion do you suppose these terrorists adhere?
Hope this ship’s propeller stays on - the French have such a hard time with simple things like that...
To be a pirate, the crime has to occur with a privately owned craft in international waters for “private gain”.
So, since most piracy occurs in coastal waters, and a great deal occurs under the cover of law of renegade states, and since “terrorists” can claim that they were doing it for ideological reasons rather than “private gain”, most pirates simply are defined out of existence.
The French navy doesn’t seem to have a ship of that name.
The form of the name would indicate it would be a Type A69, but here’s their list of that type:
Avisos type A69
* Aviso Lieutenant de vaisseau Le Hénaff (F 789)
* Aviso Lieutenant de vaisseau Lavallée (F 790)
* Aviso Commandant l’Herminier (F 791)
* Aviso Premier maître l’Her (F 792)
* Aviso Commandant Blaison (F 793)
* Aviso Enseigne de vaisseau Jacoubet (F 794)
* Aviso Commandant Ducuing (F 795)
* Aviso Commandant Birot (F 796)
* Aviso Commandant Bouan (F 797)
It’s possible that it’s a new ship and they haven’t updated their website yet. But we are talking a known unreliable source. A google of “Le Commandant Rouen” turns up only this story.
I consider it more ‘creative writing’ until there’s a legitimate source.
So now they are going to surrender a warship.
So I take it you’re rooting against America’s French allies and for the Islamist terorists who kidnapped 30 French citizens? Charming!
It’s probably the Commandant Bouan, as misheard over the telephone. Would make sense given the role.
Probably the same one the Barbary Pirates of the late 1700’s and early 1800’s did.
You know, the ones Jefferson sent Decatur to Tripoli Harbor to open up a can of Whoopa$$ on?
Ask and ye shall receive. lol
Reliable sources inform me that this Canadian Warship was purchased from the French Navy and the only modification they were required to make was to remove the permanently attached White Flag.
No one will go hungry.
It would have been nice if they sent something that would at least SCARE the pirates.
French Rear Adm. Jean L. Kerignard is in command of CTF-150
Now that’s funny.
No, I’m not. I’m just not gonna ever pass up an opportunity to rip the French.
But are the French up to it?
Have they ever been? Remember that during our own revolution the Frogs did what they do best. When Admiral Howe’s British fleet showed up, Admiral DeGrasse FLED with his numerically superior fleet.
There is a great misperception about the French military.
The French military is not incompetent. In fact, they are excellent. Their political LEADERSHIP has been horrible for decades and the French population in general has been ambivalent with regard to just about anything dealing with defense and national security.
But the French military is far from the incompetent, cowardly force that so many in America seem to think it is.
I’d take that piece for use in a fight....Ma Deuce always good!
Like what? They could find a later-model ship, but who cares? The pirates don't have anything that can even remotely take on this ship. A cheap, gun-based littoral-oriented ship is perfect for this role. If looks rather than need drove decisions, they'd have sent a Lafayette-class vessel:
Somalia lacks a functioning government, is an islamic cesspool, and would be a prime candidate to be the toxic waste dump for the universe. Much mischief comes out of Somalia, it produces nothing of consequence, it disrupts its neighbors, and it would look better if it glowed in the dark.
It is possible that the name is the only fact that they got wrong, but given their track record, that is unlikely. I fact-checked one item in a few minutes on the net, and caught an error. They didn't fact check at all, and no telling what we'd find if we went through the rest of the story.
The French military leadership failed their armed forces in 1940. When the Germans invaded, the French had a bigger army, more tanks, *better* tanks (albeit much slower), and more guns. The only areas where the Germans had a real qualitative superiority were in their air force (the French AF was bigger but largely obsolete) and in their tactics. The French generals deployed their army poorly, went into a total panic when the Germans broke through the “impossible” Ardennes and reached the Meuse, and totally botched any slim hope of a counterattack. Their soldiers, in many cases, fought well against hopeless odds.
The French actually have a lot of experience in counterterrorism. Well, OK, if you define Greenpeace as “terrorists”. But, still, they train very hard, and I expect if they can catch these pirates, they’ll put some serious hurt on them.
Tell you what. Let us put you out at sea on a small boat against this French warship, let it fire a couple of rounds in your direction, a direct hit from which would not send you to Davy Jones Locker, because the bits would be so small that the fish would eat you before they could sink that far, and let us see how your bravado stands up.
A machinegun-armed Predator flying up and down the Somali coastline, strafing anything that looks like a pirate vessel, would put a stop to this real fast
Some of you make fun of Debkafile, but methinks if an honest study were done, comparing the truth and accuracy of DEBKAfile to the NEW YORK TIMES, that it would be found that DEBKAfile is much more truthful and accurate than the Old Grey Whore, the Washington Compost, or any of a number of Liberal rags for that matter.
Fantastique! We shall fold like bath towels!
DeGrasse was a great seaman and fighter. E.G., His actions prevented the British from shipping in more troops and supplies at the battle of Yorktown, enabling Washington and Rochambeau to force a British surrender..
As the Revolution wore on, your typical continental soldier carried a French musket, powder and shot, wore a French-supplied uniform and boots, slept in a French-supplied blanket, even ate French rations. Artillery: French. Our Army units, modeled on the French.
Rochambeau, the French Army Chief in our Revolution, to which France also sent over 10,000 troops, was also a master strategist ... which old George was sometimes not. Lissen, the Frogs had a couple of bad centuries, and we bailed them out in WWI and II, but they are the US'oldest, if not constant, ally. There is even a well-founded theory that the money they spent on us, and the taxes they raised to get it, ruined the French Monarchy and led to THEIR Revolution!
And, they are plenty brave, just sometimes unlucky. Very good Navy. Very good Air Force. Very good Army. Of course, getting them to use force on our behalf is sometimes difficult ... as with any other ally.
> So I take it youre rooting against Americas French allies and for the Islamist terorists who kidnapped 30 French citizens? Charming!
Congratulations! The first sensible post on this dam’nable thread! It only took twenty. Shivers! People complain when the French don’t participate in the WOT, and people make fun of them when they do. Crikey!
I wonder if any of these armchair heroes know that the French Foreign Legion is a world-class elite force, arguably as good as or better than anything that the United States can put in the field? Probably they don’t. It is just possible that the Legion will be on that warship — they often do things like that. And if not the Legion it will be a fairly competent group of French cutthroats that board the Luxury yacht.
I feel sorry for the Somali pirates, actually: they are highly likely to be dead in fairly short order.
These guys have no particular political goal, simply the making of money.
Pirates were never romantic, really.
The appropriate term is pirates. If you start proclaiming EVERYTHING “terrorism” the word will lose its meaning.
This is completely false. The British fleet under Graves attempted to break the French blockade of Yorktown in the Battle of the Chesapeake and failed; Cornwallis surrendered the next month.
There's a reason we named a destroyer after DeGrasse.
> There’s NO ROMANCE here folks! Call it what it is — TERRORISM !!!
No, “terrorism” carries with it connotations of a radical political agenda. “Pirates” have no agenda greater than self-interest. “Pirates” would be the right word here.
I don’t quite get that, either. My understanding is that Degrasse’s fleet kicked British ass. How did that become a French defeat is anyone’s question.
Volunteers were making night jumps into Dien Bien Phu almost to the end.
A jump into the depths of hell would have been a better choice.
Some not even jump qualified!
Yes the most senior leadership was poor at best, that will not diminish the honor of the men.
A superb read.
The prisoners, French survivors of the battle at Dien Bien Phu, were starved, beaten, and heaped with abuse, and many died. Of 10,863 survivors held as prisoners, only 3,290 were repatriated four months later. The fate of 3,013 prisoners of Indochinese origin is unknown.
I have operated with the French Navy and met personally with French Naval officers. They are a VERY professional group and quite capable in their ship handling even under delicate conditions.
It is not wise to underestimate them.
I will be first in line to bash much of their political leadership over the last 50 years but not the French Navy. I can not speak for the other services but would expect a similar level of professionalism.
Garde la Foi, mes amis! Nous nous sommes les sauveurs de la République! Maintenant et Toujours!
(Keep the Faith, my friends! We are the saviors of the Republic! Now and Forever!)
LonePalm, le Républicain du verre cassé (The Broken Glass Republican)
Though I agree with your general sentiment (I love an anti-French joke as much as the next guy, but it’s a bit sad that people that probably have never heard of Verdun assume all French are cowards) but the “French Foreign Legion” is, by law, composed of non-Frenchmen enlisted - the “Foreign” refers to where the troops come from. It’s mostly English, Russians, and Germans. The officers are French, though, and Frenchmen sneak in to the ranks by declaring a false citizenship.
Well it wasn’t a very decisive battle; the British fought poorly and retreated to New York. But it was enough. They couldn’t break DeGrasse’s blockade.
The key decision was when DeGrasse decided to bring his ENTIRE fleet from the Caribbean to the Chesapeake, which the British were not expecting.