Navy turned down couple

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ROYAL Navy commanders have refused to help a yachting couple who demanded an escort across the pirate-infested waters of the Indian Ocean, it has been reported.

Rene and Edith Tiemessen, who had sailed with British kidnap victims Paul and Rachel Chandler before the pair were snatched by Somali pirates, claim they have the right to protection as they make their way home from Thailand in their 60ft yacht, Alondra.

The Dutch couple, who are sailing with their two-year-old daughter Devi, want to cross the notorious waters despite repeated warnings for yachtsmen to avoid the area entirely.

Britain currently commands Operation Atalanta, the EU anti-piracy task force, which has 27 vessels from Spain, Germany, Italy and France patrolling an area larger than Europe.

Royal Navy commanders turned down the request because they cannot spare a vessel.

A defence source said: ‘This is a totally unrealistic request.’

Rene, 48, told the Daily Express: ‘It’s like asking for help from the police, and being told you are not eligible.’