Australian family narrowly avoid pirate boarding off Yemen

Pirate skiffs were scared away from a private yacht off Yemen when Japanese and Pakistani warships came to the rescue. An Australian couple, with their daughter aged 11 and son aged 4, were near Yemen on a leg of their round-the-world tour when they were approached by pirates.

The pirates stalked the yacht for about four hours, during which time several more skiffs arrived, cutting in front of them and trying to halt their progress towards other vessels in the area.

The vessel became low on fuel, although the family had already called for help. A Japanese warship had dispatched a helicopter and a plane to monitor the situation. The Japanese pilot kept in radio contact and directed the yacht towards the naval ships.

The pirates closed in, but the warships came into view at that time and they retreated. “We believe it was only by minutes that the appearance of two warships on the horizon thwarted the attack,” Ms Turner said. The Pakistani naval ship supplied the yacht with fuel and escorted them to Djibouti.