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Monday
Feb212011

Warship and Helicopters Tracking Yacht Hijacked by Somali Pirates

Image Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- A US Navy warship on Monday continued to track a yacht holding four Americans that was seized by pirates between the coasts of Yemen and Somalia, authorities reported.

The Americans, sailing the world on a Christian mission to distribute bibles, were ambushed by pirates in dangerous waters nearly 300 miles off the Somali coast. On board the yacht were Jean and Scot Adam from California and Phyllis MacKay and Bob Riggle from Washington State.

The last time pirates targeted an American vessel -- the Maersk Alabama in 2009 -- the heist ended with all but one of the pirates killed by US Navy sharpshooters.

The challenge for international warships now is keeping the pirates from making it to the Somali shore where they and their hostages can easily disappear.

Back in California, church-goers are praying for a quick return home for the hostages.

A U.S. Embassy spokesman on Saturday said officials were assessing options and "possible responses" to the situation.

It is believed that Somali pirates currently have 29 ships in their possession and are holding 660 crewmembers hostage.

The 58-foot S/V Quest is owned by the Adams, who have been sailing the boat around the world for the past seven years. As they approached the notoriously hostile waters off the Horn of Africa, they cut back using their radios and satellite systems so their location couldn't be tracked by pirates, but they were still found.

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