British Couple Exhausted Being Somali Pirates' Prisoners

An anti-piracy maritime group has insisted it should be allowed to negotiate a payment for the release of two British hostages before their captors lose patience.

Paul and Rachel Chandler, from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, were captured while sailing from the Seychelles towards Tanzania more than three months ago.

A new video released by the pirates shows the couple making a desperate appeal for the Government to intervene in their plight.

The Foreign Office has reiterated its stance that it will not pay a ransom for the couple. But chairman of the Merchant Maritime Warfare Centre, Nick Davis, an experienced pirate negotiator, said he could not understand why he was not being allowed to secure their release.

He said: "People are forgetting the key issue. Paul and Rachel have not got a clue what's going on. They are sat there in a hell hole wondering why people aren't helping them. The door is open for them to be released. Somebody needs to pick up the gauntlet and run with it.

"For the amounts involved I don't think it's worth trying to bring anyone to justice. We just need to get Paul and Rachel home. We are the people who know what needs to be done, we can do it, we just need to be allowed to do it."

Mr Davis said he could not do anything without the "green light" from the Foreign Office and the family. He said the pirates would need to feel they were talking to somebody with the authorisation and means to secure the release.

The latest video was recorded on Thursday and smuggled out of Somalia before being given to Sky News. Mr Chandler, who was being held in a separate location from his wife, said: "I just want to say please to my government get me and my wife out of here. We are innocent, we have done no wrong. We have no money and we can't pay a ransom."

The couple were captured aboard their yacht Lynn Rival on October 23.

The Press Association has contributed to the report.

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