MY Le Ponant

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the Ponant
Name: Le Ponant
Operator: Ponant
Port of registry:  France[1]
Builder: SFCN, France[1]
Completed: 1991[1]
Identification: IMO number: 8914219

MMSI number 227186000

Call sign FGZZ[2]
Status: In service
General characteristics [1]
Type: luxury yacht
Tonnage: 1,489 GT
Length: 88 m (288 ft 9 in)
Beam: 12 m (39 ft 4 in)
Draft: 4 m (13 ft 1 in)
Decks: 3 (passenger accessible)
Installed power: 2,200 hp motor and sails[citation needed]
  • 1 propeller
  • 1,500 m2 (16,000 sq ft) sail area
Sail plan: three masts
Capacity: 67 passengers
Crew: 30

Le Ponant is a three-masted, commercially operated French luxury yacht operated by Compagnie du Ponant. The ship carries up to 67 passengers in 32 cabins. It was built 1991 by the SFCN shipyard in France.[1]


On board, Le Ponant has two restaurants. The Karukera Dining Room provides French cuisine and the outdoor Le Diamant restaurant is for more informal meals. There are two lounges; the Emeraude Lounge which is the main entertainment lounge, and the Saphir Lounge, a lecture hall with internet computers.[3]

2008 Somali Pirate Attack

Operation Thalathine
Part of Operation Enduring Freedom - Horn of Africa
Date 4 April 2008
Location off Somalia, Gulf of Aden
Result French victory
 France Somali Pirates
1 aviso
2 frigates
1 yacht
12 pirates
Casualties and losses
none 1 yacht captured
6 captured

On April 4, 2008, Le Ponant was seized by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden while en route from the Seychelles to the Mediterranean. The ship carried no passengers at the time of its capture, but all 30 crewmembers were taken hostage; one Cameroonian, six Filipinos, 22 French, and one Ukrainian.[4] French forces - including the aviso Commandant Bouan - and a Canadian CH-124 helicopter from HMCS Charlottetown were monitoring the yacht after its seizure.[5]

The hostages were released without incident on April 12.

Following the release, French helicopters from the Djibouti military base tracked the pirates to the village of Jariban. French commando marine and GIGN operating from the frigate Jean Bart and the cruiser Jeanne d'Arc moved in when the pirates attempted to flee in the desert. A sniper disabled the get-away vehicle, and the commandos were able to capture six men. Local officials claimed that three people died in the raid, with a further eight wounded, but France denied this. Troops also recovered some of the ransom money paid by the owner of the yacht for the release of its crew.[6] The six captured pirates were flown to Paris, where they faced trial in 2012.[7][8][dated info]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Ward, Douglas (2008). Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships. Singapore: Berlitz. p. 419. ISBN 978-981-268-240-6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Vessel details LE PONANT". Retrieved 2010-05-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>: Current position, data, and photos of LE PONANT
  3. "Le Ponant Cruise Ship Description and Cruises". Choosing Cruising. Retrieved 4 December 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Somali pirates seize French yacht". BBC News. 4 April 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "France is tracking hijacked yacht". BBC News. 5 April 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "France raid ship after crew freed". BBC News. 12 April 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "France charges Somali 'pirates'". BBC News. 18 April 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Six Somali pirates on trial in Paris over capture of Le Ponant crew


  • "Le Ponant". Worldwide Resorts & Cruise Associates. Archived from the original on 2008-04-04. Retrieved 2008-04-06.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


External links