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Race organisers name Americans taken by pirates

Organisers of an international yacht race have named the four Americans taken hostage by Somali pirates off East Africa.



Mogadishu: Organisers of an international
yacht race have named the four Americans taken hostage by
Somali pirates off East Africa.

The organisers of the Blue Water Rally said late
yesterday on their website that Scott and Jean Adam`s yacht
had been participating in the race, but left it Feb 15 to take
an independent course from India to Oman.

The Adams` yacht, the Quest, was hijacked Friday in
the Arabian Sea south of Oman. US officials say they are
monitoring the situation but gave no indication today as to
whether the military will intervene before the yacht reaches
Somalia.

The Blue Water Rally organisers identified the other
two Americans aboard as Phyllis Mackay and Bob Riggle. The NBC
TV station in Seattle, Washington spelled the name as Phyllis
Mccay and said she and Riggle are from Seattle.

"We feel desperately sorry for our four friends
onboard and our thoughts are with them and their friends and
family. All the yachts still on the rally are fine and well,"
the rally`s website said.

Pirates in Somalia said today that the yacht is
nearing the Somali coast, though no officials confirmed the
claim. US military officials declined to comment. Somali
officials condemned the attack but said they did not know
specifics about where the yacht was or if any military action
was imminent.

The Adams, who are from California, have been sailing
the world with a yacht full of Bibles since 2004. The
hijacking of their yacht came two days after a Somali pirate
was sentenced to 33 years in prison by a New York court for
the 2009 hijacking of the Maersk Alabama. That case ended when
Navy sharpshooters killed two pirates holding the ship`s
captain.

Pirates have increased attacks off the coast of East
Africa in recent years despite an international flotilla of
warships dedicated to protecting vessels and stopping the
pirate assaults. Multimillion dollar ransoms are fueling the
trade, and the prices for releasing a ship and hostages have
risen sharply.

Pirates currently hold 30 ships and more than 660
hostages, not counting the attack against the Quest.

The best-known case of Westerners being held hostage
in Somalia was that of Paul and Rachel Chandler, a British
couple held for 388 days. The two, who were captured while
sailing in their private yacht, were released in November.

The Adams who are members of the Marina del Rey Yacht
Club in Marina del Rey, California run a Bible ministry,
according to their website, and have been distributing Bibles
to schools and churches in remote villages in areas including
the Fiji Islands, Alaska, New Zealand, Central America and
French Polynesia.

PTI

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