Please select your home edition
Edition
Southern Spars - North Technology

Accused Somali pirate pleads guilty to murder of cruising sailors

by Sail-World Cruising round-up on 21 May 2011
Tragic ending - Quest under sail in the South Pacific, earlier in their ill-fated voyage .. .
While the sailing community will remain sad and scarred by the deaths of four American cruising sailors at the hands of Somali pirates for some time to come, one chapter in the tragic tale appears to be nearing its end.

Five Somali men have pleaded guilty to charges of piracy and hostage taking of the yacht Quest off the coast of Oman in February in a hijacking that left the four Americans dead..


By pleading guilty, the first pirate Mohamud Hirs Issa Ali could now see his sentence reduced, as the charges carry the potential for a death penalty. Though he now faces life behind bars, he could see a reduction in that sentence for admitting his role in the killings.

'He avoids death with the plea,' his lawyer Jon Babineau told AFP. Following his plea four others have now pleaded guilty, probably for the same reasons.

The owners of the yacht Quest, Californian cruising sailors Jean and Scott Adam were sailing around the world at the time of last February's hijacking as part of the Blue Water Rally, the organisers of which have now ceased business. At the time of the hijacking they were said by rally organisers to have left the rally, although this has been fiercely denied by friends and supporters of the Adams. Along with their crew members Bob Riggle and Phyllis Macay from Seattle, Washington, they were shot to death unexpectedly several days after being taken hostage, even as negotiations were taking place with US Navy officials.

According to US officials, US service members, who had been trailing the yacht during the hostage drama, boarded the vessel after hearing gunshots and discovered the Americans' bodies.

Accused Somali pirate Mohammad Saaili Shibin, said to have been the chief negotiator in the hijacking, was indicted on charges related to the killings earlier this year.

The US military said it had undertaken negotiations, led by Shibin, to secure the release of the hostages at the time the pirates fatally shot their captives.

At the time of their arrest, the pirates were said to have been in possession of heavy weaponry, including a grenade launcher and several assault rifles.

The men are among 15 people -- 14 from Somalia and one from Yemen -- arrested after the attack for their roles in the kidnapping and killings. Other pirates are expected to plead guilty in the coming days.

IMO: Piracy still on the increase:
Piracy is still dramatically increasing round the world.

The number of acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships reported to the International Maritime Organization(IMO) and which occurred in 2010 was 489, against 406 during the previous year, an increase of 20.4% from the figure for 2009.

The areas most affected (i.e. five incidents reported or more) in 2010 were East Africa and the Indian Ocean followed by the Far East and, in particular, the South China Sea, West Africa, South America and the Caribbean.

During the year, it was reported that two crew members were killed and 30 crew members were reportedly injured/assaulted, while 1,027 crew members were reportedly taken hostage or kidnapped.

Fifty-seven vessels were reportedly hijacked, with one vessel reportedly still unaccounted for.

However, in the first four months of 2011, 214 incidents were reported to the Organization.

The IMO has also approved an 'Interim Guidance' on the use of privately contracted armed security personnel on board ships transiting the high-risk piracy area off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden and the wider Indian Ocean after meeting at the Organization’s London Headquarters for its 89th session from May 11-20, 2011.

Helm Events 660x82Naiad/Oracle SupplierWildwind 2016 660x82

Related Articles

BIC Techno 293 One design class - 2014 Season highlights video
Another successful year for BIC Techno 293 One design class. Season highlights video here. BIC Techno 293 One design class 2014 - 100s of competitions from all continents, 1000s of participants around the world. Lot of fun, new adventures, new places, new friends. Another successful year for BIC Techno 293 One design class. Season highlights video here.
Posted on 1 Jan 2015
Pirate attack on EU NAVFOR flag ship - suddenly sorry
In the first light pirates were surprised when their target ship fired back - it was the EU NAVFOR flagship ESPS Patino The fact that it occurred at first light must be the excuse for a skiff full of suspected pirates who opened fire and commenced boarding a target ship this week. What a surprise when the 'target' fired back and launched a helicopter. As the light increased they learned why. Rather than a commercial ship which they could have hijacked, it was the flagship of EU NAVFOR itself, the ESPS Patino.
Posted on 13 Jan 2012
Kidnapped Chandlers released by Somali pirates
Somali pirates released British sailors Paul and Rachel Chandler today after holding them hostage for more than a year. Somali pirates have released British cruising sailors Paul and Rachel Chandler today (Sunday) after holding them hostage for more than a year. Somali pirates kidnapped the retired couple on Oct. 23 last year - 388 days ago - after hijacking their 38-foot yacht Lynn Rival in the Indian Ocean off Seychelles.
Posted on 14 Nov 2010
Mystery surrounds piracy report in Gulf
Contradictory reports have been received about a reported pirate attack on the US flagged boat, Tir Na Nog Contradictory reports have been received about a reported pirate attack on the US flagged boat, Tir Na Nog, a Cheoy Lee Ketch, with three female crewmembers. The first reports were that the Italian Coastguard reported that a U.S.-flagged yacht with three people abroad, had been attacked by pirates wielding rocket launchers off the coast of Yemen after an Italian freight ship reported a distress call.
Posted on 17 Apr 2006
World’s Smartest Pirates
Story of pirates who ran afoul of two large and heavily armed US warships off the coast of Somalia There is an old saw in street fighting, never bring a knife to a gun fight. And so it was with a particular group of rather poorly educated pirates who ran afoul of two large and heavily armed US warships off the coast of Somalia…
Posted on 30 Mar 2006
U.S. Navy Ships Return Fire on Suspected Pirates
USS Cape St. George and USS Gonzalez returned fire on a group of suspected pirates in the Indian Ocean on Saturday ABOARD USS CAPE ST. GEORGE, At sea (NNS) -- USS Cape St. George (CG 71) and USS Gonzalez (DDG 66) returned fire on a group of suspected pirates in the Indian Ocean, killing one and wounding five, approximately 25 nautical miles off the central eastern coast of Somalia in international waters at 5:40 a.m. local time, March 18.
Posted on 23 Mar 2006
Yachts for Pirate Zone ‘better organised'
Yachties believe they are better organised this year in going through the pirate zone in the Gulf of Aden Last night when I asked David Ross, a single-hander, in the Oasis Club in Oman, how his trip round the world was going, his reply went instantly to the question of pirates.
Posted on 9 Mar 2006
US Navy Arrests Pirates - Hope for Sailors?
The presence of a more active US Navy and a new Somali contract for security -less danger for cruising sailors? The presence of a more active US Navy and a new Somali contract for security could mean less danger for cruising sailors on their way through the Gulf of Aden this year.
Posted on 26 Jan 2006