Sea piracy dips, but Somali corsairs still lead the charge

A maritime watchdog says sea piracy worldwide dropped slightly in 2011 for the first time in five years, but that Somali pirates intensified attacks and remained the greatest threat.

The International Maritime Bureau says the number of attacks dipped to 439 last year from 445 in 2010.

It says that 45 vessels were hijacked and 802 crew members taken hostage — down from 53 hijackings last year. It attributes the decline to international naval patrols and additional private security personnel on ships.

The agency says Somali pirates accounted for 54 percent of global attacks with 237 cases, up from 219 in 2010.

The IMB said Thursday that Somali pirates for the first time hijacked a vessel in anchorage, indicating they were desperate. — Sapa-AP

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