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U.S. considers military action after pirates seize Orange County couple's boat

Jean and Scott Adam on their boat, the Quest (seen below).

U.S. military officials said they are considering a response after reports that pirates off the coast of Somalia hijacked the yacht belonging to an Orange County couple on a worldwide voyage distributing Bibles.

Rear Adm. Charles Gaouette, deputy commander of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, told CNN on Saturday that the U.S. is prepared to intervene to rescue the couple if they are indeed aboard the boat.

"They were part of a sailing group that set sail from the southern tip of India into the western Indian Ocean," he told the network.

Jean and Scott Adam have been sailing around the world for six years on their sailboat, the S/V Quest. They have raced with the Del Rey Yacht Club in Marina del Rey, which has been their mail drop during their global odyssey.

Omar Jamal, first secretary at the Somali mission, said Friday that pirates in the Indian Ocean had taken four U.S. citizens captive when they hijacked the S/V Quest. The other two people have not been identified.

The couple's website, svquest.com, shows that the Adams were on a journey this winter from India to the Mediterranean by way of the Arabian and Red seas. They had hoped to reach Crete by April, then sail to Istanbul, Turkey.

"Djibouti is a big refueling stop," Jean Adam, a retired dentist, wrote of a stop that they were planning just beyond Somalia. "I have NO idea what will happen in these ports, but perhaps we'll do some local touring. Due north is the Red Sea where we plan to tuck in when winds turn to the north."

Last year, the couple sailed to ports in Myanmar, Cambodia and Thailand.

Piracy has flourished off Somalia's coast for two decades. Before the recent seizures of the S/V Quest and another vessel, the Alfardous, pirates were believed to be holding 29 ships and about 660 hostages.

The S/V Quest website says almost nothing about where the Adams lived or what they did before they set off around the world.

"We were so unhappy being 'dirt dwellers' during our time in the States that another floating abode had to be acquired," Jean Adam wrote.

But the website richly chronicles their adventures abroad, among them tales of distributing Bibles in Fiji.

"We seek fertile ground for the Word and homes for our Bibles," she wrote. "Often, the ultimate homes are best found by people who are already living locally and seeking and cultivating that fertile ground."

She also told of the uncertainty of their future plans.

"We have some repairs we need to make in Turkey," she wrote. "We'll do a little cruising in the Med. AND we have a reservation on October 15th in St. Katherine's Docks in London, England — SOOOO, we'll see...."

--Michael Finnegan

Photo from svquest.com

Comments () | Archives (30)

Americans should be warned of non-us involvement when they are captured or detained in these type of areas. They are putting others in harms way to "rescue" them.

Besides... a few hours spent with this "religious fanatics", and I'm sure their capturers will have a change of heart and "deposit them" soon after.....

Talking about being naive. What were they thinking? la-la land is not realistic. The world knows that right now, you do not sail around that area. You are at high risk of being hijacked. Who wants to go there? Hello!

I fully support President Obama as Commander in Chief, along with the US Navy to take any aggresive action necessary to free this US flagged vessel.

We should do routine air strikes on all boat harbors along the shoreline of Somalia until all pirate attacks stop.

The assets required for this type of rescue come to far more than a couple million: these guys are costing the American people hundreds of millions, possibly more, as well as the lives of our men who risk their safety for their complacent behavior. Fine, rescue them, but remember defense spending is not being minimized here.

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