Fox News Communicates With Pirates Holding British Couple Hostage

Fox News communicated via satellite phone with one of the pirates holding the British couple hostage on a cargo ship off the coast of Somalia on Thursday.

When asked if Paul and Rachel Chandler were safe, the alleged pirate said "yes."

The presumed pirates refused to answer other questions and would not let reporters speak to the Chandlers. The pirates were on the Kota Wajar cargo ship when Fox News reached them on the ship's satellite phone.

SLIDESHOW: British Couple Kidnapped by Pirates

The Kota Wajar was hijacked by pirates earlier this month with 21 crew members on board.

Meanwhile, sources have told Fox News that the British couple has been moved from the cargo ship Khota Wajah to land at the pirate lair of Haradheere.

There reportedly was a conflict between the pirates holding the hostages on the cargo ship and those who are holding the Chandlers.

The couple was said to have been moved at night. The relocation has made it "infinitely harder" to get to the couple, sources told Fox News.

Sky News also communicated with an alleged pirate on the Kota Wajar. The news agency said the pirate suggested the British couple was taken off the cargo ship.

The Associated Press reported that a local fisherman had said that a "white couple" had been brought to shore at Ceel Huur.

Earlier in the day, Paul Chandler, 59, described to ITV News how armed Somali pirates kidnapped him and his wife as they slept aboard the yacht they were sailing in the Indian Ocean, Sky News reported.

Speaking by phone to the 24-hour U.K. news channel, Chandler said: "I was asleep and men with guns came aboard," Sky News reported.

The retired quantity surveyor and his economist wife Rachel, 55, disappeared while taking their vessel, the Lynn Rival, from the Seychelles towards Tanzania.

Chandler, from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, continued: "I was off watch. I was asleep and men with guns came aboard. It was on Friday last week at 2.30pm."

Before the phone call, the kidnapping and the couple's safety had not been verified.

Chandler's brother-in-law, Stephen Collett, confirmed that it was his voice which was heard during the call.

Mr Chandler and his wife were now being held "hostage" on a container ship called the Kota Wajar, he said.

His captors have not asked for a ransom, he said: "Not officially - they kept asking for money and took everything of value on the boat."

Fox News' Greg Palkot, Sky News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Click here to read more from Sky News.

Click here to read the full transcript of the phone call from The Times Online.