Sea piracy around the world has increased with 352 attacks in the first nine months of 2011, up 22% from a last year, according to a latest report by the International Chamber of Commerce International Maritime Bureau.
Somali pirates are behind 56% of the 199 attacks this year, up from 126 for the first nine months of 2010; however, fewer vessels have been hijacked in total.
Only 24 vessels were hijacked this year compared with 35 hijacked during the same period in 2010.
Hijackings were successful in just 12% of all attempts this year, down from 28% in 2011.
So far this year, pirates have taken 625 people hostage worldwide, killed eight people and injured 41.
According to the report, Somali pirates are intensifying operations not just off the Somali cost, but further into the Red Sea – particularly during the monsoon season in the Indian Ocean. Benin has emerged as a new hotspot for piracy.
The West African coast, off Benin, has experienced an increase in violent piracy, with 19 attacks leading to eight tanker hijackings this year compared with zero incidents in 2010.