Seattle Couple On Board Yacht Seized By Pirates - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Seattle Couple On Board Yacht Seized By Pirates

KIROTV.COM - A Seattle couple is among four Americans who were taken hostage by Somali pirates off East Africa. On their website, the organizers of the Blue Water Rally identified the Americans as Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle of Seattle, and Jean and Scott Adams, from southern California.

The group of boats was sailing together for safety from Mumbai to the Suez Canal.The Adams' yacht left the group on Feb. 15 to take an independent course from India to Oman. Jean and Scott Adams have spent the last seven years traveling the world, handing out Bibles.

The yacht, the Quest, was hijacked on Friday between Mumbai and the Red Sea.At a Kirkland marina, a friend who said he had been envious of the couple's three-year sailing trip around the world said he is now worried about Riggle and Macay.

"They're both in our prayers and we just hope that this will end soon and they come home safely," said Mike Sinclair. Sinclair said Riggle would likely not be fazed by the hijacking." I remember asking him one time, ‘Have you ever really been scared,' and Bob looked at me for a long time and said, 'Nope, I don't think I have,'" said Sinclair.

Joe Grande, of Seattle, says Riggle is an accomplished sailor who enjoyed traveling the world. Riggle and Macay have been active in the Seattle Singles Yacht Club, and Riggle once served as fleet captain. Friend Hank Curci says Riggle is a retired veterinarian and Macay remodeled and sold houses.

The Quest is reportedly between Yemen and Somalia and heading closer to Puntland, a haven for pirates on Somalia's northern tip. A Somali pirate has said the yacht will arrive in Somalia on Monday with a warship keeping close watch.

Once Quest reaches shore it will be much more difficult to rescue the Americans. U.S. officials said they are monitoring the situation but gave no indication Sunday as to whether the military will intervene before the yacht reaches Somalia.

Maritime Security Analyst Tim Hart told the CBS Early Show military intervention is one option. "The issue is in situations like this is that there is a strong precedent in terms of ransom payment and hostages being released. A military intervention is a high-risk strategy. It's a small boat and a confined area at the moment. And if the vessel reaches shore, they'll probably be split up," said Hart.

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