Seven Danes, including three children, being escorted to Somalia

Denmark’s foreign ministry has announced that a 43ft Danish yacht, containing three children, their parents and two other crew members, has been hijacked in the Indian Ocean.

The children are aged 13, 15 and 17 and the foreign ministry also confirmed that the yacht, called ING, sent a distress signal on Thursday.

It is now believed to be heading to Somalia after being seized by pirates.

Lene Espersen, Denmark’s foreign minister, said: ‘It’s almost unbearable to know that children are involved and I vigorously condemn the pirates.

‘The authorities are following this case very closely, and we will do everything in our power to assist the Danes on board and their relatives.’

According to Denmark’s TV2 News, the captured family hails from Kalundborg, on the island of Sjaelland.

They began a round-the-world trip in mid-2009 and have stopped in South America, the Caribbean, Fiji and Thailand and left the Maldives two weeks ago heading for Africa.

The kidnapping is an extremely worrying development in light of the murder of four American sailors last week.

Scott and Jean Adam, Phyllis Mackay and Bob Riggle were killed last Tuesday when a gun battle erupted on their Davidson 58 pilot house cutter, Quest.

They had been circumnavigating with the Blue Water Rally, although they had departed the rally prior to their abduction.

The rally crews held a memorial service for the four on Sunday in Salalah, Oman, which was attended by 65 participants, plus independent yachtsmen who knew them and the US Ambassador to Oman.

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