Attack on the Tanit
April 4, 2009, a privately owned French yacht, Tanit, was on its way towards Zanzibar when five pirates boarded it. The Lemacons, who owned the yacht, had a few guests on board when they heard warnings about possible pirate attacks a few weeks before. The family had even met a couple whose boat had been taken by pirates and who had to be rescued by French commandos. Despite this, the family and friends continued on their journey.
On April 4, the boat was taken hostage by a crew of five pirates.
French officials responded five days after the ship was taken and swiftly tried to negotiate with the pirates. They offered to send an officer over in exchange for the mother and child on board the Tanit. The pirates refused this offer and threatened to kill each hostage one by one. As the boat drifted towards the shore of Somalia, the French officials started to get nervous that the pirates would be able to take the hostages onto land. They took this as their cue to attack or risk losing them all.
A Special Forces unit approached the Tanit in two motorboats. Once on the yacht, they began firing upon the pirates who opened fire in return. Two of the five pirates were killed in the shootout, but unfortunately so was Florent Lemacon, the owner of Tanit. It is unclear whose shot killed Lemacon. His wife and three year old son were rescued, as well as the two other guests aboard the yacht. The three remaining pirates were charged with hijacking and false imprisonment in France.
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