Largely because of activity off Somalia, worldwide pirate attacks increased in the past year. For the first nine months of the year, there were 306 incidents of piracy worldwide (for all of 2008, there were 293 incidents). The 2009 incidents included 88 cases where the ship was fired on (twice the number compared to last year). About half of all incidents took place off Somalia.
Not all of those attacks were successful. Only 114 vessels were boarded, most of the time resulting in robbery (of the crew, and anything that could be carried away to a speedboat.) But 34 ships were hijacked, along with 661 crew members. Pirates also killed six crew members, and eight more are still missing. Pirates have been less successful this year, with only one in nine vessels attacked hijacked, compared to one in 6.4 last year.
The other hotspots for pirate activity are the coast of Nigeria (mainly off the Niger river delta), the port of Chittagong in Bangladesh and the South China Sea (which has always been the scene of pirate activity.)