Pirates capture four Americans in yacht
Four Americans sailing a yacht off the coast of East Africa have been taken hostage by Somali pirates, U.S. officials confirmed in news reports Sunday.
The yacht is headed to Somalia under surveillance by a U.S. Navy warship and helicopters.
The yacht is owned by a retired couple from San Diego that has been sailing the world for seven years distributing bibles to churches and schools in villages. Two friends of the couple were also onboard the yacht.
Reports indicate the sailors cut back their use of radio and satellite systems so their position couldn't be tracked as they sailed across the Indian Ocean towards the Horn of Africa, to no avail.
There are 29 ships and 660 crewmembers being held hostage in Somali waters awaiting ransom payments, according to the International Maritime Organization.
Last week pirates seized two loaded supertankers.
The U.S. Navy was able to rescue the captain of a U.S.-flagged merchant vessel in 2009 when he was taken hostage and held in a lifeboat in the spring of 2009. The surviving abductor was sentenced in a New York court last week to 34 years in jail.