Somali pirates hijack US yacht

By Agence France-Presse
Friday, February 18, 2011 20:55 EDT
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By Jean-Marc Mojon

NAIROBI — Somali pirates on Friday hijacked a yacht with four Americans on board in the Indian Ocean, a non-governmental organisation monitoring regional maritime activity said.

Ecoterra International said the S/V Quest was seized in the afternoon 240 nautical miles (275 miles) off the coast of Oman.

“S/V Quest was attacked by pirates in the Indian Ocean and the four Americans on board are being held hostage,” it said.

“The sailing yacht was reportedly now en route from India to Mina Raysut, the industrial port of Salalah, Oman,” Ecoterra added.

The S/V Quest’s owners, retired couple Jean and Scott Adam, have been sailing around the world for more than seven years and detailed in a December update on their website what their travel plans would be for 2011.

“Our ports of call will be: Galle, Sri Lanka; Cochin, India; Salalah, Oman; Djibouti, Djibouti; The Suez Canal; and Crete. That gets us to April,” the website entry read.

Despite Somali piracy being at its highest ever levels, with more than 40 ships and 800 seamen currently held according to Ecoterra, the US couple made no reference to the threat on their website.

The yacht beacon’s position shows Mumbai in India but it was last updated six days earlier and a distress signal was sent from the middle of the Indian Ocean on Friday.

Most of the ships currently held for ransom by Somalia’s marauding pirates are merchant vessels but small yachts have been seized in the past.

A yacht was hijacked off the Seychelles in October. The skipper escaped and was rescued by a naval vessel but two South Africans remain hostage.

In November 2010, British couple Paul Rachel Chandler were released after an ordeal that last more than a year, in what became one of the longest and most high-profile hostage cases in Somalia’s recent, troubled history.

They had sailed from the Seychelles straight into a dangerous area at the peak of the piracy season.

Two French yachts were also hijacked in 2008 and 2009.

When pirates capture an oil tanker or a large cargo ship, which are insured by large companies, their priority is to establish contact with the ship’s owner to negotiate a ransom payment, paying little interest to the crew.

But when they seize a private yacht, the ship itself is of little value to them and their only bargaining chip becomes the crew’s life and freedom.

Pirates have tended to abandon hijacked yachts and take crews onshore, where they can better shield their hostages and themselves from military intervention.

Few Americans have been taken hostage by pirates since attacks in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean surged in 2007.

In one famous case in 2009, the US captain of the Maersk Alabama, Richard Phillips, gave himself up to the pirates to save his crew.

He was later rescued in an operation by elite US Navy SEAL commandos in which three pirates were killed. Phillips was given a hero’s welcome when he returned to his home country.

Copyright © 2011 AFP. All rights reserved.

Agence France-Presse
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  • Anonymous

    Is it ok to feel a very small amount of sympathy for the well off considering that the well off have a hand in the destruction of the middle class?

  • Anonymous

    No. They buy the yachts from china and then get the electronics put in the USA, because of the Patriot Act. Otherwise, 100% of the fucking things would go to china.Just ask the assholes up in Sequim, Washington at the Sequim Yacht Club.

    The Kinks- Sunny Afternoon

    And I can’t sail my yacht,
    He’s taken everything I’ve got,
    All I’ve got’s this sunny afternoon.

    Save me, save me, save me from this squeeze.
    I got a big fat mama trying to break me.
    And I love to live so pleasantly,
    Live this life of luxury,
    Lazing on a sunny afternoon.
    In the summertime
    In the summertime
    In the summertime

  • Anonymous

    Dumbasses. Good luck to them.

  • Anonymous

    We might also want to know one of the tid bit information that no one asked. WHY ? Of course, they won’t exactly tell you why Somalis and other Africans hijack various ships, Africa is rarely ever in the news in the USA, even though it’s the 2nd largest continent in the whole world.

    I wish they would have hijacked these guys instead:

    Donald Trump associate Tevfik Arif charged with running prostitution ring aboard Turkish yacht

    google for it.

  • Anonymous

    Can’t they use the tax cuts they got from the Republicans to bail themselves out? Or do they need government assistance which the taxpayers will have to foot the bill for?

  • Anonymous

    they were handing out freakin BIBLES
    i sshit you not……now they want the NAVY to come