Piracy has reached new levels, the International Maritime Bureau says.
The number of pirate attacks off the Somali coast has almost tripled in a year, new data reveals.
Attacks escalated to 97 during the first quarter of 2011 compared to 35 a year earlier, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said in a report.
Five out of every six hijacks take place in the region. Average ransoms paid to Somali pirates have also shot up to $5.4m from only $150,000 five years ago.
The East African rogues raked in an astonishing sun in ransoms approaching a quarter of a billion dollars last year alone.
But that might not be surprising considering that 28 ships and 596 crew were being held on 31 March, the IMB said.
This week pirates freed the Thoresen Thai vessel 20,400-dwt Thor Nexus (built 1989). Though Thoresen refused to confirm it, the pirates said they had received a $5m ransom.
Piracy cost $12bn in 2010 taking into account insurance premiums, the re-routing of vessels and security, the IMB said.
The pirates have also changed tactics in response to an increased security presence.
They have spread the net wider than ever before aided by the use of so called motherships.
A total of 142 ships were attacked worldwide during the first quarter with 344seafarers taken hostage.
Fuente: Trade Winds