With no personal wealth or possibility of an insurance payout, the UK government will need to do a deal to get captive sailors released

What are the options for kidnapped sailors Paul and Rachel Chandler to raise the millions of dollars’ ransom that is said to have been demanded for their release?

Not many.

They do not have that sort of money themselves, say their relatives. That their yacht was a Rival 38 rather confirms it.

So it looks like their value is being calculated as their worth as British citizens. Their captors are presumably hoping that the UK government will pay a negotiated sum and that is what I suspect will happen (see my previous blog here).

Since writing this, several people have said to me that the British government would simply never pay a ransom. Don’t you believe it.


I have no idea if that’s what will happen in this case and but would a UK government do secret deals and buy the peace? Yep, I can think of some examples very much closer to home.

But leaving the politics aside some commentators are asking if an insurer could or would pay for the Chandlers to be released, and that’s an interesting question.

Most UK insurers talk to each other regularly and have been doing so in this case. The main players do not have the Chandlers on their books and their supposition is that their yacht may not have been insured at all. This is not uncommon among long-term cruisers.

But if they are, would they be covered? Highly unlikely.


Even the addition of a war risks clause to a marine policy does not cover kidnap. It is possible to get kidnap insurance but this covers the value of the vessel if taken not the people.

So it’s almost certain that the Chandlers would have no claim against insurance. The only organisation that can help them is the government.