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The Cruising Association is delighted that members Paul and Rachel Chandler are safe after their ordeal and hopes that they will soon be reunited with friends and family.
President Stuart Bradley says "It has been a truly awful ordeal for Paul and Rachel. They have conducted themselves with extraordinary dignity and bravery in very harsh conditions throughout the 388 days of their capture. The Cruising Association has kept in close touch with representatives of their family throughout and followed their wishes. Many letters of support from Cruising Association members have been forwarded to them. In many instances those letters have been acknowledged personally by family members. I received messages from Paul's sister Jill Marshment, and Rachel's brother Stephen Collett shortly after 6.30 am today informing me of their release but requesting no publicity until Paula and Rachel were safely out of Somalia. I would like to thank the press and news media for showing restraint in covering this story. Soon after Paul and Rachel's capture we were advised that publicity only encourages hostage-takers to believe their ransom demands would be met and that it would delay the release of Paul and Rachel Chandler. We have maintained silence until now in order to support the various attempts to secure their release. We are now free to speak."
Like many thousands of CA members the Chandlers are simply leisure sailors. They left the UK to realise their dream of sailing around the world. That dream turned to a nightmare when, in international waters 600 hundred miles from Somalia, they were taken captive by pirates and held to ransom. Peggie Manton, Secretary of the CA's Mediterranean Section knows the Chandlers well having spent many months sailing with them in the Mediterranean. Peggie says "We are all thrilled at the news that Paul and Rachel have been released and we can't wait to see them safely back home. We can only guess at what they have had to endure but they have come through it bravely and we are all very proud of them."
Cruising Association Patron, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston CBE says "I am very pleased to hear that Paul and Rachel are safe. It has been a truly dreadful time for them and we look forward to welcoming them back home. I, in common with all of the Cruising Association's members, have been waiting for this news and we cannot say how pleased we are to hear that they are at last safe and will shortly be on their way home. The growing threat of piracy is something all governments must work towards combating."
Stuart Bradley, CA President says "We work closely with the UK Ministry of Defence, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and The Maritime Security Centre (Horn of Africa) part of the EU Naval Force, to reduce the risk of piracy to innocent yachtsmen. We will continue to do everything we can to make the seas safe for everyone who wants to sail on them. There is a crying need for international intervention to deal with the background issues in Somalia, and the problem of piracy in that area is not likely to be resolved until stability and a sound economy can be introduced."