While preparing to write my fictional account of the voyage of the Neko II around Africa, which Mr. Farago has been good enough to publish in serial on this site, I spent countless hours researching and reading the accounts of people fortunate enough to sail the globe in private yachts. One of the blogs I stumbled across and drew inspiration from was that of Scott and Jean Adam and their Davidson 58 pilot house sloop, s/v Quest. One of my story’s plot points involved a brush with Somali pirates. No metaphor about art, life, imitation, or the strangeness of fiction is adequate to describe the tragedy that befell this couple and their death at the hands of real Somali pirates.
Scott Adam was a retired Hollywood director and producer who worked on such TV shows such as The Love Boat, The Dukes of Hazzard, and McCloud, and the 1985 movie The Goonies. He and his wife have been sailing around the world since 2004. American friends Phyllis Mackay and Bob Riggle were their guests aboard Quest at the time of the kidnapping. They too were killed.
The Adam’s undoubtedly engaged in high-risk behavior. And ultimately they bore the consequence of their choices. It is impossible for any government to inoculate its citizens from their own poor decisions, such as separating themselves from the relative security of convoying with the Blue Water Rally through dangerous waters, as Brad Kozak reported in his excellent piece earlier today. Then again, sometimes governmental actions contribute to the problem.
The kidnapping, Yachting Monthly points out, “came two days after a Somali pirate was sentenced to 33 years in prison by an American court after hijacking a tanker and another pirate warned that Americans would be targeted in retaliation.”
This raises a broader question regarding the appropriateness of applying western notions of due process and granting foreign nationals Constitutional rights when perpetrators are apprehended while committing crimes against American citizens in International waters, not to mention terrorists or “enemy combatants” that are taken into custody by our military in foreign lands.
Contrast this conviction to the unexplained disappearance of ten Somali pirates taken into custody by Russian marines and naval forces last May. Initially the Russians announced that they were going to prosecute the pirates. However, they soon changed their minds and “released” the pirates – so they say –leaving them to navigate their way back to their home country. The pirates were never seen again.
It is widely believed that the Russians executed the pirates at sea. To pirates, Russian actions speak louder than American words.