“It’s good news that hijackings are down, but there can be no room for complacency: These waters are still extremely high-risk and the naval presence must be maintained,” Captain Mukundan added.
Piracy off Somalia’s coastline – Africa’s longest – soared from 2007, when armed gangs onshore began targeting the large numbers of ships carrying valuable cargo passing through the Gulf of Aden en route to the Suez Canal.
By 2010, the cost of the pirate attacks was estimated at $12 billion, taking into account higher insurance premiums, new security measures, rerouting ships, and ransom payments. Ransoms reached as high as $9 million for a South Korean oil supertanker seized in 2010.
Roughly three dozen warships from the navies of the US, Britain, the European Union, Russia, China, India, and others have since been
deployed to patrol more than one million square miles of ocean off Somalia.