Good news for sailors, shipping magnates and these women: pirate attacks are way down. In fact, there haven't been any successful hijackings by Somali pirates in nearly a year, according Donna Leigh Hopkins, a US diplomat and the head of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia.
"Pirate attacks are down by at least 75 percent," Hopkins said in an interview with The Associated Press.
"There are still pirate attacks being attempted but there has not been a successful hijacking since May 2012," she said. "May 12 will be the one year anniversary of no successful hijacking off the coast of Somalia."
Experts credit the increased presence of armed guards on ships, coordinated efforts of international naval forces, and the jailing of over 1,100 Somali pirates in 21 countries for the drop. The threat of Seal Team 6 probably didn't hurt, either.
According to the International Maritime Bureau, 46 ships were hijacked in 2009, 47 in 2010, 25 in 2011, but those numbers dropped to just 12 in 2012. The last hijacking on record, of the Greek oil tanker MV Smyrni, took place on May 12 and resulted in a $15 million ransom payment to the Somali pirates who overtook it.
When asked if the hijacking-free streak would continue long enough to reach the one-year mark, Hopkins said, "I'm not going to count days. Every day without a successful attack is a good day."
As for the Somali pirates, it looks like being polite doesn't pay after all.
[Associated Press/Image via AP]
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