It seems like a story from another a time or a feature film. Over the weekend, The Ponant, a French luxury yacht was hijacked by pirates while returning from the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean. The pirates lead the yacht down the Somalian coast where the government has struggled to assert control after nearly a decade of violence and anarchy. Their militia is poorly paid and the country does not have a navy for maritime protection and control.
Thirty crew members are being held hostage by at least 10 suspected pirates who stormed the vessel. News articles report that 22 crew members are French and the rest are Ukranian or Korean, including 6 woman.
In an act of international community support, Rep. Rida Cabanilla sent a letter to the President of the United Nations General Assembly petitioning the assembly to issue a resolution that condemns the pirate attack on The Ponant and demands the release of the hostages. The petition was signed by 13 other lawmakers.
Rep. Cabanilla addressed the pirates in a press realease announcing the petition. "The whole world is watching; you can run, but you can't hide," she said.
The French government made contact with the pirates yesterday but have not revealed whether they have considered paying a ransom. In August, Denmark's government paid a ransom two months after the hijacking of a Danish cargo ship by Somili pirates. Piracy has risen 10 percent in 2007, according to the International Maritime Bureau. More than a dozen ships were captured last year along the Somalian coast.
"Piracy represent a clear and present danger to both our national and international security interest, as well as a barbaric plague that persists upon our twenty-first century world," said Rep. Cabanilla.