Over the last 12 months, piracy off the Horn of Africa has nearly disappeared. In the first 16 weeks of 2013, there have been no vessel hijackings reported (pdf) to the US Office of Naval Intelligence. And according to the UN, the last vessel to be commandeered by militants was the Greek tanker MV Smyrni on May 10, 2012, almost a year ago.
The disappearance of Somali piracy follows
- an increased presence of international navies in and around the Indian Ocean;
- Kenyan military intervention against al-Shabab strongholds in Somalia;
- and vigilance among vessel owners, who have rerouted and fortified ships to combat piracy threats.
Attacks on ships in the region have also declined. From 2009 through 2011, pirates were attacking more than 100 ships a year. In 2012 only 24 ship were fired upon. So far this year, pirates have fired on four vessels but not successfully boarded them.
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