The Defence Minister, Carme Chacón, announced that Spanish forces from the amphibious assault ship, ‘Galicia’, are to be decorated for rescuing a French woman who was taken hostage with her husband by Somali pirates off the coast of Yemen earlier this month. Evelyne Colombo was rescued on September 10 two days after the catamaran she and her husband were sailing had been attacked by pirates. Her husband, Christian Colombo, was murdered and his body thrown into the sea during the pirates’ assault. The Galicia was on patrol with the EU anti-piracy mission Operation Atalanta when it intercepted the skiff which was transporting the 55 year old French woman. Operation Atalanta command ordered the Galicia to open fire on the skiff’s engines and the pirates responded by shooting at the Spanish ship. The pirate skiff capsized after the gun battle, but the hostage was rescued and seven pirates were arrested.