Thirty crew aboard a luxury yacht operated by a unit of CMA CGM have been released without incident a week after pirates hijacked the vessel off Somalia, President Nicolas Sarkozy's office said in a statement on Friday.
Pirates stormed the three-masted Le Ponant in the Gulf of Aden April 4 as it returned from the Seychelles without passengers. France had sent a warship and special forces to shadow the ship. No other details of the release were available.
"The president expresses his deep gratitude to the French armed forces and all the state services which enabled a rapid and peaceful solution to this hostage-taking," the statement said.
Twenty-two of the crew are French, while some are Filipino. All were reported to be safe.
The vessel, operated by Compagnie des Iles du Ponant, is to sail to Djibouti under escort by the French Navy, where the crew will be flown to Paris.
The yacht had been moored at Garacade in Somalia earlier this week. The motive for the hijacking was believed to be ransom, and not terrorism. It was not clear if any ransom was paid.