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British Sailors’ Somali Ordeal Ends

"We are happy to be alive, happy to be here, desperate to see our family," said British sailor Rachel Chandler at a news conference in Mogadishu. She and her husband Paul were finally released yesterday, after being held captive by Somali pirates for 388 days.

The couple’s Rival 38 sailboat Lynn Rival was hijacked last year while en route from the Seychelles to Eastern Africa, and until now, a series of efforts to negotiate their release proved fruitless. Theirs was one of the longest ordeals of incarceration by any sailors or professional mariners since the current era of piracy began. According to ITN News, a total of $800,000 was given to their captors before the Chandlers’ release was eventually granted. "We’ve been a year with criminals, and that’s not a very nice thing to be doing," said Mrs. Chandler. Both she and her husband spent three months of their ordeal in solitary confinement.

Intial reports from the Associated Press and others did not mention the fate of the Chandlers’ boat, which we assume is unrecoverable. According to news reports at the time of their capture, the boat and cruising kitty represented much of the couple’s life savings. They had begun their cruise in Europe, traveled through the Med, then south into the Red Sea, through the notorious Gulf of Aden, and across the Arabian Sea to India before heading west again toward Africa.

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Sailors took advantage of this weekend’s sublime weather to shake out the sails and dry out the boat.