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Somali Pirates Seize Yacht With 4 Americans Off Oman

Somali pirates hijacked a yacht with four U.S. passengers off the coast of Oman, U.S. Central Command said.

Central Command is monitoring the situation, said a spokesperson for the military unit in Tampa, Florida, who declined to be identified. The Omani capital Muscat and Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, are about 1,700 miles apart.

The vessel was seized 240 nautical miles off the Oman coast yesterday at 1:23 p.m. Universal Coordinated Time, according to Ecoterra, an environmental group that monitors activity in the region.

The yacht, S/Y Quest, is owned by Jean and Scott Adam, who have been on a round-world sailing trip since 2004, Ecoterra said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. The boat was traveling from India to Oman’s southern port of Salalah, Ecoterra said.

Three days ago, Somali pirate Abduwali Muse was sentenced to 33 years and nine months in prison for hijacking the container ship Maersk Alabama in the Indian Ocean in 2009.

Thirty-one ships are being held by pirates in waters around Somalia, with an estimated 694 hostages, according to data up to Feb. 15 on the website of the European Union’s Naval Force.

Somali pirates held British couple Paul and Rachel Chandler for 388 days after seizing their yacht off the Seychelles in 2009.

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