Somali pirates are holding more than 435 sailors hostage in war-torn Somalia’s eastern ports, despite an international naval operation intended to secure ships sailing across the Gulf of Aden.

According to data from the London-based International Chamber of Commerce, Somali pirates have attempted 140 hijackings so far in 2010, compared with 217 in 2009. The number of ships taken hostage, meanwhile, stands at 40 to date compared with 47 last year.

The data says the number of crews kidnapped this year stands at 790 and may soon pass last year’s number of 867, according to

It is reported that each hijacked ship and its crew can bring pirates a ransom of between $2.5m-$5m.