MY Le Ponant

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]

Le Ponant
Name: Le 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 (1,600 kW) motor and sails
  • 1 propeller
  • 1,500 m2 (16,000 sq ft) sail area
Sail plan: three masts
Capacity: 67 passengers
Crew: 30


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
Date4 April 2008
Result French victory
 France Somali pirates
1 aviso
2 frigates
1 yacht
12 pirates
Casualties and losses
none 1 yacht captured
6 captured

On 4 April 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 12 April.

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]


  1. Ward, Douglas (2008). Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships. Singapore: Berlitz. p. 419. ISBN 978-981-268-240-6.
  2. "Vessel details LE PONANT". Retrieved 2010-05-31.: Current position, data, and photos of LE PONANT
  3. "Le Ponant Cruise Ship Description and Cruises". Choosing Cruising. Retrieved 4 December 2013.
  4. "Somali pirates seize French yacht". BBC News. 4 April 2008.
  5. "France is tracking hijacked yacht". BBC News. 5 April 2008.
  6. "France raid ship after crew freed". BBC News. 12 April 2008.
  7. "France charges Somali 'pirates'". BBC News. 18 April 2008.
  8. "Six Somali pirates on trial in Paris over capture of Le Ponant crew". 22 May 2012.


  • "Le Ponant". Worldwide Resorts & Cruise Associates. Archived from the original on 2008-04-04. Retrieved 2008-04-06.
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