Tiara Captain Clears Air on Pirate Attack

5 September 2008 By Matt Gomez

The captain of the Alloy sailing yacht Tiara contacted on Friday with an update on information surrounding an Aug. 24 modern-day pirate attack off the coast of Corsica.

Capt. Pascal Pellat-Finet has been instructed by Corsican law enforcement officials to limit his press exposure until the completion of a formal police investigation into the attack by four armed and masked intruders.

Despite those limitations, Capt. Pellat-Finet wanted to clear the air on some inaccuracies that were reported in various media outlets, including

Here are the facts, according to Capt. Pellat-Finet:

- The 178-foot (55-meter) Tiara was moored off Porto Vecchio , several miles off the southern coast of Corsica, when it was boarded by four armed and masked gunmen.

- The thieves, armed with rifles and handguns, robbed the charter guests of an undetermined amount of cash, which Capt. Pellat-Finet would not divulge. All financial specifics released in previous media reports are incorrect, says the captain.

"Let's just say it was a lot of money," he says.

- The intruders were armed with pistols and rifles, not grenades, as reported in some other media accounts.

- The guests (he would not confirm their names or occupations) were on a three-week charter. The incident occurred during the second week. Capt. Pellat-Finet was "pleased" that they decided to remain on Tiara and continue their vacation for the remainder of the charter period. Guests do not blame captain or crew for the incident.

- The yacht captain and crew were unarmed. Capt. Pellat-Finet says the crew of Tiara will remain unarmed for future charter trips despite any fears of a repeat attack. "We have been trained in passive measures to deal with these types of incidents."

Capt. Pellat-Finet says Tiara will resume normal operations shortly, but will use the lessons of this experience when conducting future charters.

"Tiara is the first yacht to be attacked this way in the Med," says Capt. Pellat-Finet. "Other people should take notice. My fellow captains and crew should be careful now, especially around Corsica. Even in areas that you think are safe, you really have to be careful.

"I hope my fellow captains will learn from this experience."