U.S Department of State welcomes the sentencing of 3 Somali pirates on 2nd of August, 2013 in the Federal District Court of Virginia for the February 2011 murder of the 4 abducted American citizens Jean Adam, Scott Adam, Phyllis Macay and Robert Riggle onboard the yacht QUEST off the coast of East Africa. These Somali pirates are going to serve life sentences in jail, joining over 1,000 other pirates operating in the area, which have been brought to justice in twelve countries all over the world in last few years.
On 8th of July, 2013 a federal jury in Norfolk, Virginia convicted the 3 Somali pirates on 26 counts, which included piracy, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, hostage taking resulting in death, kidnapping resulting in death, and multiple firearms offenses. Eleven of the other Somali pirates that attacked the QUEST ship previously pleaded guilty in federal court in 2011 and were also sentenced to life in jail. The onshore negotiator working for the Somali pirates was also convicted and obtained multiple life sentences as well. We recognize the outstanding work of the FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, as well as the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.
While piracy still remains a big threat, the progress, which has been made is significant. The government of the United States has joined with over 80 countries, international organizations and industry groups in effort to make considerable progress against piracy through the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia. This unique international partnership,was first launched in 2009 pursuant to United Nations Security Council Resolution 1851, is contributing to a major decline in piracy off the Horn of Africa. The last successful pirate attack on a merchant ship in the area took place on 10th of May, 2012. Today, Somali pirates hold hostage 1 vessel and around 60 seafarers. It's over 90% reduction in hostages held by pirates since January 2011.