12:32 GMT +324 November 2017

    Released crew from Somali pirate attack arrives in Paris

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    KIEV, April 15 (RIA Novosti) - The crew of over 30 people on board a luxury French yacht, which Somali pirates held captive for almost a week, has arrived at Orly Airport in Paris, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

    The Le Ponant owned by one of France's largest ship operators CMA-CGM was seized two weeks ago en route to the Mediterranean. It was not carrying any passengers, but had 22 French crew members on board as well as one Ukrainian and nine Koreans.

    The Ukrainian ministry said quoting the country's embassy in France that the crew, which was released last week, was in good health and was met at the airport by French President Nicholas Sarkozy as their plane touched down from Djibouti.

    The ministry also said that visas had been issued to the foreign crew members and their accommodation and return fare would be financed by CMA-CGM.

    Earlier media reports said the crew was released without the use of force, but a French Navy frigate and a team of French commandos were present in the area to reinforce the group negotiating the hostages' release.

    Pirate attacks are a common occurrence off Somalia's coast, and in the past several vessels carrying United Nations aid to the country have been targeted. Attackers usually seize cargo, money and other valuables, but rarely capture ships or crew members.

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