The British Government has ruled out paying $7 million (Sh525m) to Somali pirates for the release of a UK couple.
Amid reports that London has appointed a hostage negotiator to deal with the case, the Foreign Office said the couple were “blameless tourists”, but that no payment would be made nor advice given to relatives on how to make a payment.
“We are aware of reports that a ransom demand of $7m has been made,” a Foreign Office spokesman said. “(Her Majesty’s Government) HMG’s policy remains clear: We will not make substantive concessions to hostage takers, including the payment of ransoms.”
Paul Chandler, 59, and his wife Rachel, 55, from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, were captured in the early hours of October 23 when armed men woke them at gunpoint as they sailed in the Indian Ocean.
The Chandlers had been travelling to Tanzania from the Seychelles. Their yacht was later found in international waters.
Mr Rob Macaire, the British High Commissioner to Kenya, told the BBC: “We are not in direct contact with whoever is holding the Chandlers.
“Our main concern is to make them understand that what they are doing is entirely unjustified, and that they should release the Chandlers immediately and unconditionally.”
Armed pirates boarded the Chandler’s yacht, the Lynn Rival, in the Indian Ocean while they slept.