Australia is to invest A$500,000 to the Joint European Commission/UN Office of Drugs and Crime Counter Piracy Programme to assist Kenyan authorities combat piracy off the Horn of Africa.

The Australian Government has also deployed an Anzac-class frigate and a RAAF AP-3C Orion patrol aircraft to participate in counter-terrorism activities in the region.

More than 100 ships were attacked and 42 hijacked in the Gulf of Aden and the Somalia region in 2008, according to figures by the International Maritime Bureau.

There have been around 60 attacks and 25 successful hijackings this year.

In a statement, the Australian Government said: “With 99% of our exports by volume being transported by sea, a safe and secure maritime industry is paramount – to our economy, to our maritime industry, and to the safety of many Australians who travel through international waters each year.”