LOS ANGELES — 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, Calif., 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 United States 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, Calif., which has been their mail drop during their global odyssey.
Omar Jamal, first secretary at the Somali mission at the United Nations, said Friday that pirates in the Indian Ocean had taken four U.S. citizens captive. The other two people have not been identified.
The website of the American couple, svquest.com, shows that they 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. Last year, the couple sailed to ports in Myanmar, Cambodia and Thailand.
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.
"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."