Leaving Svalbard, Sailing downwind near 77 North Latitude
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Three of the suspected Somali pirates alleged to be responsible for their part in the death of four US citizens onboard the US yacht, SV Quest, are facing the death penalty; according to press reports from Saturday, 9 July. It was reported that Ahmed Muse Salad, Abukar Osman Beyle and Shani Nuraniu Shiekh Abrar were originally charged with piracy and kidnapping which has a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. However, a new indictment against the suspects carries fresh charges alleging that the suspects were directly responsible for the death of the US sailors. The new charges carry the death penalty, and the suspects face arraignment on 20 July.
SV Quest was hijacked approximately 400 nm east of Salalah on 18 February with four US citizens onboard. A boarding team from a US frigate was dispatched on 22 February when gunfire originating from onboard the yacht was heard. However, when the team was able to board SV Quest, they discovered that all the hostages had been shot. Four pirates lost their lives during the incident and a number of pirates were detained. Eleven other suspects involved in the hijacking have reportedly pleaded guilty to piracy which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.