Three pirates from Somalia on trial in United States court for the hijacking and killing of 4 United States hostages could face the death penalty if found guilty by the Norfolk, Virginia court.
Ahmed Muse Salad, Abukar Osman Beyle and Shani Nurani Shiekh Abrar face twenty-six charges of murder, kidnapping and piracy for their role in the hijacking of the Quest in the Indian Ocean in February 2011 and the death of 2 American couples who became popular in the recent months due to Somali pirates. The hostages were killed 4 days after they were hijacked during a failed US Navy rescue operation. In that operation were also killed 4 other Somali pirates during the accident, and others onboard were arrested and prosecuted in the United States, where most have been found guilty and given life sentences.
Even though there has been a sharp reduction in piracy off Somalia in the last 2 years, there're reports, which armed pirates attempted to hijack a bulk carrier vessel in the Red Sea on 4th of July. In this case, the armed security team onboard fired warning shots that saw off the attempted attack.
International Maritime Bureau (IMB) piracy reporting centre stated that Somali pirates still hold captive 4 ships and sixty-eight hostages. Hostages continue to include 7 Indian seamen from the Asphalt Venture, still held captive despite the payment of a ransom over 2 years ago.