'I was asleep and men with guns came onboard'

Paul Chandler has spoken to ITV News this evening about the terrifying night pirates hijacked their yacht. ‘I was off watch. I was asleep and men with guns came aboard. It was on Friday last week at 0230,’ said Paul Chandler, whose identity was confirmed by Rachel Chandler’s brother Stephen Collett. ‘They kept asking for money and took everything of value on the boat.’ The pirates then headed for the Somalian coast onboard the Chandlers’ Rival 38 Lynn Rival, where they were spotted by an airborne patrol (see picture).

Paul and Rachel Chandler were being held in the hold of Kota Wajah, a hijacked Singaporean container ship one mile off the coast of Somalia. A spokesman for the Somali pirates who hijacked the Chandlers onboard Lynn Rival confirmed that they were ‘safe but exhausted’ and said the decision to hold them offshore was based on the fear of a rescue bid by the Royal Navy.

According to today’s Evening Standard newspaper, the spokesman said ‘They are exhausted and need rest. We will be holding them in the Singaporean ship along with that ship’s crew. We decided not to take them ashore.’

However the Chandlers may now have been moved to a secure pirate base ashore. Local fishermen reported seeing the Chandlers being taken ashore to the village of Ceel Huur, near the pirate stronghold of Harardheere, where they were met by around 30 pirates in six luxury vehicles.