PETALING JAYA, Malaysia - The infamous Somali pirate attacks have dropped to only four cases in the first six months of this year, from 44 cases in the corresponding period last year.
According to data compiled by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), this has placed Somalia fourth in piracy-prone areas in the first half of this year.
IMB attributed the significant drop in the attacks to actions by various navies as well as preventive measures by merchant vessels which included the deployment of private armed security personnel.
It said the navies continued to play a vital role in keeping this threat under control.
"The two vessels hijacked recently were recovered by naval action before the pirates could take them to Somalia," it said.
Nevertheless, as of June 30, IMB said Somali pirates were still holding 57 crew members from four vessels for ransom.
"They are also holding 11 kidnapped crew members in unknown conditions and locations. Four of the crew members have been held since April 2010, and seven since September 2010," reported IMB.
"Despite the temporary protection provided by the southwest monsoon in some parts of the Arabian Sea, the threat still remains," it said.
"Mariners are still advised to be vigilant and comply with the industry's best management practices."