The US Government has warned mariners to expect an increase in piracy off the Horn of Africa and in the Indian Ocean.

The agency has also counselled seamen on US-flagged ships to be prepared to defend against boarders, writes The Associated Press.

An advisory from the Maritime Administration said increased piracy can be expected because the monsoon has ended in the area off eastern Africa.

As a result pirates from lawless Somalia will have easier access to passing ships.

The advisory suggests that crew members ‘demonstrate a willingness to defend themselves’ if pirates climb aboard despite evasion tactics.

Shippers have been advised to pass through suspect areas at the highest speed possible.

The Maritime Administration is a part of the US Department of Transportation.