A British couple kidnapped by Somali pirates while sailing their yacht in the Indian Ocean, were released yesterday after just over a year in captivity. But their ordeal also highlights the futility of the international anti-piracy naval taskforce, which has been in operation off the Somali coast for the past two years.

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Paul and Rachel Chandler, a British couple kidnapped by Somali pirates while sailing their yacht in the Indian Ocean, were released yesterday after just over a year in captivity. But the Chandlers’ ordeal also highlights the futility of the international anti-piracy naval taskforce, which has been in operation off the Somali coast for the past two years.

The Chandlers’ 38-foot yacht, the Lynn Rival, was hijacked in October last year as they were sailing from Seychelles to Tanzania, despite the close presence of a Royal Navy warship. More than 30 warships from the EU, US, China, Japan and even Russia have been patrolling the Gulf of Aden since 2008 (Monocle took a trip with the Danes in Issue 23) but they have made little impact. New figures from the International Maritime Bureau show that Somali pirates accounted for 44 per cent of all ship hijackings in the first nine months of this year. More than 700 hostages have been taken – and at least 400 of those are still being held.

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