Saturday, February 19, 2011

Somali Pirates Snatch Four American Sailors

A yacht carrying four American citizens has been hijacked by pirates operating in the Indian Ocean off the Somali coast.

Omar Jamal, first secretary at the UN Somali mission, confirmed the attack and identified the yacht as the S/V Quest.

He said the mission is calling for the immediate release of the hostages and all other captives who are in the hands of the pirates.

Jamal said the hijacking raises \"serious concern\" as it follows the sentencing in New York on February 17 of a Somali pirate who kidnapped and brutalized the captain of a US-flagged merchant ship off the coast of Africa in 2009.

A website chronicles the voyage of a 58-foot yacht named S/V Quest describes it as being the home of Jean and Scott Adam, who were en route from the Indian Ocean towards the Red Sea and Mediterranean.

The couple has been sailing around the world since December 2004, according to the website as part of a planned to be an \"eight or ten-year voyage\".

The EU\'s anti-piracy task force said it appeared that Somali pirates had hijacked a separate vessel, the Alfardous, and its eight crew members in the Gulf of Aden.

The force said it had no more details about the vessel since it was seized on February 13.

Somalia hasn\'t had a functioning government since 1991, and piracy has flourished off its coast.

The pirates earn multimillion dollar ransoms from the hijackings, holding 29 ships and more than 700 hostages

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