Somali pirates capture American couple and crew on round-the-world adventure voyage

Putting an abrupt stop to the voyage of a lifetime, a US-flagged yacht with four American citizens on board was hijacked 240 miles off the coast of Oman by Somali pirates Friday.

The s/v Quest, a Davidson 58 Pilot House Sloop, was in year seven of a ten-year around-the-world voyage with American owners Jean and Scott Adam and two crew members.

“S/V Quest was attacked by pirates in the Indian Ocean and the four Americans on board are being held hostage,” Omar Jamal of the United Nations said. “The sailing yacht was reportedly … en route from India to Mina Raysut, the industrial port of Salalah, Oman,” Ecoterra added.

The couple has chronicled the voyage on the their website since 2002. An entry from last December listed their stops in 2011 as “Galle, Sri Lanka; Cochin, India; Salalah, Oman; Djibouti, Djibouti; The Suez Canal; and Crete. That gets us to April.”

Both Scott and Jean Adam are certified by the US Coast Guard with a 100 ton master captains license. Designed by America’s Cup designer Laurie Davidson the S/V Quest is a sailing ship with a backup engine range of 3,300 miles

%Gallery-117152%Their planned course would have taken them into dangerous pirate-infested waters off the coast of Somalia. It is not known if the couple knew of the danger or simply ignored it.

Equipped with satellite Internet access and an Iridium phone for emergencies, the California couple sent an SOS message at the time of the attack. Maritime officials said little, if any, radio contact has been made since then reports MSNBC.

“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.”

Earlier on Friday, The European Union’s anti-piracy task force said it appeared that Somali pirates had also hijacked a separate vessel, the Alfardous, and its eight crew members in the Gulf of Adenpire.

The Adams capture also came as Interpol said it would spend $2.17million to help African nations fight piracy reports the Daily Mail.

The first phase of the E.U-funded programme would include a digital fingerprint identification system to make it easier to identify pirates and share information on them.

Earlier this week, British frigate HMS Cornwall has freed five Yemeni hostages held by Somali pirates for three months.