U.K. and U.S. naval forces recently stormed an Italian cargo ship that had been boarded by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean. The crew of 23 have been rescued and 11 suspected Somali pirates captured.
Attempted attack Pirates’ estimated income from ransom, 2009


News and events — visually

Worldwide Incidents
(as of Sept. 27, 2011):
Total Hostages: 400 Total Killed: 15

Total attacks: 346 Total hijackings: 35 Somalia attacks: 194 Somali hijackings: 24 2008 attacks: 111
Current vessels held by Somali pirates: Vessels: 15 Hostages: 277

Pirate attacks, 2011
Actual attack

2008 hijackings: 42


Pirates’ estimated income from ransom, 2010


Somali pirates
• Most are 25-35 years old • Many come from the region of Puntland, in northeastern Somalia • Many have received sophistocated training on weapons, engines and navigation • Weapons used include: Ms, RPG-7s, AK47s, and semi-automatic pistols such as the TT-30; Most come from Yemen, and from Mogadishu, Somalia's capital.

How they attack

Somali-type skiff 6-8m long Fibreglass

Boarding ladders

Yemeni-type 12-14m long Wooden construction Sleek with pointed bow

• Most attacks occur during the day, often in the early hours • Rocket-propelled grenades and small arms are used to intimidate the operator to slow down and allow boarding • Ladders are brought by the pirates to climb aboard the captured ship

By the numbers
Worldwide (Jan.-June 2010)

• May involve two or more ski s that can reach speeds of up to 25 s will Ski knots approach • vesselwill approach Skiffs under attack vessel under attack from the stern (back) from the stern or quarter. (back) or quarter.

495 seafarers were taken hostage. 7 killed 39 injured 99 vessels were boarded, 76 fired upon 62 thwarted attacks were reported.

Sources: International Maritime Bureau; Wikipedia; NATO


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