There has been an unprecedented increase in maritime piracy especially, but not exclusively, in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of East Africa. The question of vessel security is a long term issue and likely to be exacerbated given current international conflicts and the economic problems.
Pirates have been able to deploy ever more sophisticated and more powerful means to successfully attack vessels of any size and at considerable distances from the shore. There has been a corresponding increase in naval deployments to the most affected area but the threat of further attacks is still causing insurgence rates to rise steeply and vessels’ crews to be understandably reluctant to transit the areas. In any case naval task forces, on their own, will not remove the threat of piracy.
However it must be emphasized that the Gulf of Aden is by no means unique and other areas, notably West Africa, the Straits of Malacca and parts of South America (i.e. Brazil) are prone to piracy. Indeed in 2008 there were 280 reported attacks of which 110 were in the Gulf of Aden, or off Somalia. Each area requires different techniques to ensure that vessels are protected.
A total of 2,463 actual or attempted acts of piracy were registered
around the world between 2000 and the end of 2006. This represents
an annual average incident rate of 352, a substantial increase over the
mean of 209 recorded for the period of 1994–1999.
The concentration of pirate attacks continues to be greatest in
Southeast Asia, especially in the waters around the Indonesian archipelago
(including stretches of the Malacca Straits that fall under the
territorial jurisdiction of the Jakarta government), which accounted for
roughly 25 percent of all global incidents during 2006.
The RAND Corporation, The Maritime
International Security, 2008