Marine News, December 21, 2011: Somali pirates, Jilani Abdiali aka Ilkasse, 20 and Mohamud Hirs Issa Ali, aka Sanadaaq, 32 were sentenced to life imprisonment by U.S. District Judge Mark S. Davis, at the ‘Norfolk Federal Court’ for piracy against S/V Quest. They have also been charged for murder of U.S. citizens; Jean Savage Adam, Robert Campbell Riggle, Patricia Macay and Scott Underwood Adam on board the ship.

The case was under investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the FBI. The announcement of the court proceedings was made by U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Neil H. MacBride; Assistant Director-in-Charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office, Janice K. Fedarcyk; Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office, Alex J. Turner and Special Agent in Charge of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) in Norfolk, Mark Russ.

Janice K. Fedarcyk, FBI’s Assistant Director-in-Charge was quoted as saying, “Piracy in its modern form is carjacking at sea. It is not glamorous; it is violent and often murderous. The crew of the Quest did nothing to antagonize their captors. They were a target of opportunity. The FBI is committed to stopping crime on the high seas.”

Somali pirate, Mohamud Hirs Issa Ali admitted to commandeering the pirate ship from Somalia. The Quest was seized by the pirates 840 miles off Somalia on May 20, 2011. Pirates and weapons were transferred to the yacht through a ‘skiff’. Ali also admitted ordering a co-defendant to fire rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) on a Navy vessel attempting to rescue the hostages. The other defendant Jilani Abdiali too admitted engaging in piracy willingly and taking the four U.S. citizens hostage. However, both claim that they did not shoot or order the killing of the four U.S. citizens.