Somali piracy murders: Americans mourn the loss of hostages
People throughout the United States today are mourning the loss of four Americans killed by Somali pirates aboard a sailing vessel in the Indian Ocean this morning. U.S. officials were in the process of negotiating with the pirates for the safe return of the captured Americans when the murders took place, officials said.
U. S. Central Command officials said that in the midst of negotiations, U.S. forces responded to gunfire aboard the S/V Quest. When the forces reached the boat, officials said, they discovered all four hostages had been shot by their captors. Despite immediate steps to provide life-saving care, all four hostages ultimately died of their wounds.
The four retirees had been sailing the waters off the coast of Africa when they were taken hostage by Somali pirates about 200 miles off the coast of Oman.
Following this morning's U.S. Navy rescue operation four pirates are dead and 15 are in custody in the bloodiest piracy incident in recent history, the commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command told reporters -- including the Law Enforcement Examiner -- in a press conference call today.
Navy Vice Admiral Mark I. Fox, who also commands the Navy's 5th Fleet, said the pirates shot Scott and Jean Adams of California and Phyllis Mackay and Bob Riggle of Washington state. The surface vessel Quest was sailing around the world when the Somalis hijacked it off the coast of Oman, according to the American Forces Press Service's Jim Garamone.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters on Air Force One that President Barack Obama authorized the use of force if there was an imminent threat to the hostages. He said the president was informed of their deaths at 4:42 this morning.
"The loss of our fellow Americans is a tragedy," Admiral Fox said from his headquarters in Manama, Bahrain. The admiral gave reporters a timeline of the action:
Pirates captured the vessel about 190 nautical miles southeast of Masirah Island, Oman, February 18. Four U.S. Navy warships responded: the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, the guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf and the guided-missile destroyers USS Sterett and USS Bulkeley.
The ships found the vessel and made contact with the pirates via bridge-to-bridge radio, and began a series of negotiations. Yesterday, two pirates boarded the USS Sterett to continue negotiations.
At 8 a.m. (et) this morning ... a rocket-propelled grenade was fired by the pirates from the Quest toward the Sterett. Immediately thereafter, gunfire erupted from inside the cabin of the Quest. Several pirates appeared on the deck of the Quest and moved up to the bow with their hands in the air in surrender.
U.S. special operations forces closed in on the Quest in small boats and boarded the yacht. They discovered that all four hostages had been shot by their captors. The service members took immediate steps to provide medical care, but the four Americans died of their wounds. The boarding party also found two dead pirates aboard the vessel.
The special operations forces did not fire weapons during the boarding, Admiral Fox added.
"While clearing the vessel, two additional pirates were killed," the admiral said. "The remaining 15 suspected pirates are in U.S. custody."
Fox said two additional pirates were killed as the special operators cleared the boat. One was killed with a pistol, the other in a knife fight, the admiral said. There were no casualties to service members or damage to Navy ships. The Navy and the FBI are investigating the incident, said Garamone.
Jim Kouri, CPP, formerly Fifth Vice-President, is currently a Board Member of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he's a columnist for Examiner.com and New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he's a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB (www.kgab.com). Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty.
He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He's a news writer and columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he's syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. Kouri appears regularly as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Fox News Channel, Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, etc.
To subscribe to Kouri's newsletter write to COPmagazine@aol.com and write "Subscription" on the subject line.
Tags: Somalia , Piracy , Murder , U.S. Navy
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.