Pirates hijacked 53 ships and held a total of 1,181 hostages for ransom last year, according to the International Maritime Bureau. Forty nine of those ships and 1,016 of those hostages – from commercial and private vessels -- were seized by pirates off the coast of Somalia, a statistic that was brought into sharp relief last month when Somali pirates hijacked a yacht and on Feb. 22 murdered the four Americans aboard. Two days later, a Danish family, including three children, was taken from their yacht by Somali pirates and as of this writing had been moved to a larger pirate vessel off the Somali Coast.Image: U.S. Navy searching suspected Somali pirate ship. Credit: BlatantWorld.com/Flickr.
These very unfortunate events and statistics are renewing and raising awareness about Somali piracy, and many piracy experts echo the advice of Amb. David H. Shinn, former U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia and Burkina Faso, who notes that “leisure travelers have no business going into the Western Indian Ocean until the crisis caused by Somali pirates has ended.”
Monday, March 7, 2011
How to Survive a Pirate Attack."