Global piracy attacks are 10% higher than in the same period last year stated a report by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Maritime Bureau (IMB).
Since January, a total of 54 piracy and armed robbery incidents have been reported, with 55% taking place in South East Asia.
According to the report, a small coastal tanker is hijacked by pirates in South East Asia every two weeks, on average. IMB said that 23 ship hijackings have been reported in the region since April 2014, with six occurring in the last three months.
IMB director Pottengal Mukundan said: "The frequency of these hijackings in South East Asia is an increasing cause for concern.
"There’s a risk that the attacks and violence could increase if left unabated."
During the first quarter of this year, pirates took 140 hostages worldwide, which is three times as many as the same period in 2014. In these incidents, 13 seafarers were assaulted and three injured.
Indonesia recorded the highest number of piracy events, accounting for almost 40% of attacks this year. Vietnam witnessed an increase in armed robbery incidents, where eight piracy attacks happened in the last three months.
IMB stated that the majority of incidents are low-level, opportunistic thefts, although the attackers are usually armed with knives, machetes or guns.
Meanwhile, the report showed zero incidents for Somalia in the first quarter of this year.