LONDON - International naval patrols off Somalia and armed private guards on board ships have driven pirate attacks to a five-year low in 2012, but the risk to shipping off west Africa is growing.
Somali piracy in the busy shipping lanes of the Gulf of Aden and the northwestern Indian Ocean off east Africa cost the world economy some $7 billion in 2011, according to the American One Earth Future foundation.
Global pirate attacks on ships fell to 297 in 2012, compared with 439 in 2011, and was at its lowest since 2008 when 293 incidents were recorded, watchdog the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said on Wednesday.
About 10 percent of those attacks resulted in the ship being successfully hijacked. Twenty eight vessels were taken in 2012, down from 45 in 2011 and 53 in 2010.
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