The U.S. Central Command issued a statement today that four American sailors have been killed by Somali pirates aboard their hijacked yacht, the SV Quest in the Indian Ocean.
Quest sailing under gennaker in happier times
The four Americans were round the world cruisers, yacht owners Scott and Jean Adam of Marina del Rey, California, and Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle of Seattle, Washington.
The four were sailing along with the Blue Water Rally, before heading off on their own a week ago. Organizers of the rally said the four were sailing toward Salallah in Oman.
The Somali pirates had hijacked the yacht last Friday and had been steering it toward the Somali coast, with four U.S. Navy warships trailing and observing the vessel for approximately three days.
A U.S. Navy board party stormed the yacht after hearing gunfire. 'Despite immediate steps to provide life-saving care, all four hostages ultimately died of their wounds,' Central Command said in a statement.
Central Command believes 19 pirates were involved in the hijacking of the long range cruiser, reporting that fifteen pirates were taken into US military custody.
The navy reported that two pirates were killed in the confrontation while two other pirates were found dead aboard the yacht. Four US warships had been used in response to the hijacking.
Quest owners Jean and Scott Adams now kidnapped
Gen James Mattis, commander of US Central Command, said: 'We express our deepest condolences for the innocent lives callously lost aboard the Quest.'
The UK's Foreign Office amongst others advises against all but essential travel by yacht and leisure craft on the high seas in the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea and part of the north-west Indian Ocean.
It describes piracy as a 'significant' and 'frequent' threat in these areas.