U.S. warship shadowing hijacked American yacht

Jean and Scott Adam's yacht was hijacked by Somali pirates in the Arabian Sea.

A U.S. warship appears to be shadowing a private yacht that was hijacked by Somali pirates in the Arabian Sea on Friday.  Scott Adam and his wife Jean own the boat.   Also on board were Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle, both of Seattle.

Somali mission: Pirates capture 4 Americans

Jean and Scott Adam had been distributing bibles on their round the world sail. "We are just hoping for their safe return," said Jim Muneno.

CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips reports hymns were sung and prayers were said for the yachting couple at their Santa Monica church. 

The hijacked yacht, the Quest, is now reported to be heading for the pirate coast of Somalia. Pirate sources say the U.S. Navy is shadowing the yacht. It may be trying to do what it did in the rescue two years ago of the commercial vessel, the Maersk Alabama - slow the captured vessel down and try to negotiate with the pirates in the hope they give up or allow an opportunity for a rescue by other means.

The Adams had been sailing with The Blue Water Rally, which planned to sail together for safety reasons, as it headed from Mumbai to the Gulf of Aden on its way to the Suez Canal.

But the Adams chose to break off from the group and head alone for Salalah in Oman. They were easy pickings, boarded by pirates 275 miles off the coast.

Barring a dramatic rescue, the hostages' prospects are grim.

"Ideally for the United States, they intercept this ship, there will be something of a military stand off, hostage negotiation at sea, but there are not a lot of very good options," said Jennifer Cooke, director of the CSIS African Program.

And with the Quest heading for the pirate coast of Somalia, not a lot of time.

  • Mark Phillips, CBS News London correspondent
    Mark Phillips

    Mark Phillips is CBS News senior foreign correspondent based in London.