Record Spike in Pirate Attacks in 2010

Across the globe, pirate attacks spiked in 2010. In spite of calls by maritime attorneys to shore up security for seamen, and patrols by naval warships, pirates still managed to take a record number of people hostage last year. According to a report by the Piracy Reporting Center of the International Maritime Bureau, pirates took a total of 1,181 people hostage last year, and killed eight people in attacks on 445 ships. They further took control of at least 53 ships last year. What's alarming is that it looks like the piracy problem is spinning out of control. That is in spite of combined naval patrols, and emphasis on preventing attacks. No waters are safe from pirate attacks, and the report documents violent attacks that have occurred off the waters of Indonesia and Nigeria. However, the deadliest waters for seamen continue to be the waters off the coast of Somalia. More than 90% of all ship seizures occurred in these waters last year. As of December 2010, there were at least 28 vessels with a total of 638 hostages on board that were still being held captive by these pirates. There is also some indication that those figures are actually quite modest. An organization called Ecoterra International that tracks international piracy says that there are at least 46 vessels that continue to be held by pirates, and the total number of hostages that are being held is closer to 800. The only waters where there has been a slight decline in the number of pirate attacks has been in the Gulf of Aden, where there are thousands of naval ships patrolling the waters. However, most of the pirates who used to frequent these waters, have simply moved out to fresh targets like the Indian Ocean and even the Mozambique Channel.

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