Feature

A record-breaking year for pirates: By the numbers

Pirate attacks reached new levels of frequency and violence in 2010

In a fresh sign of rising violence at sea, pirates this week hijacked a cargo ship in the Gulf of Aden near Somalia and took all 25 Filipino crew members hostage. The attack came as a global maritime watchdog issued a report saying that 2010 marked a record year for pirate attacks. Here is a guide to the threat, by the numbers:

445Number of pirate attacks around the world in 2010, a 10 percent rise over 2009

53 Number of vessels captured by pirates worldwide last year

49 Number of those ships that were captured off of Somalia

1,181Hostages captured by pirates and held for ransom in 2010

1,016Number of those hostages who were captured in attacks off the coast of Somalia

31Ships still in the hands of pirates (including four seized since 2011 began)

713Number of crew members still held hostage

8Victims killed in pirate attacks in Somali waters in 2010, twice as many as in 2009

16Hijackings averted worldwide when crews took refuge in reinforced rooms or "citadels," a recommended practice for discouraging piracy

$5.4 millionAverage ransom paid to Somali pirate groups last year, up from $150,000 in 2005, according to a recent report from a non-governmental group called One Earth Future

$238 millionTotal ransom paid in 2010, according to the report

$7 billion to $12 billionTotal annual cost of piracy to businesses and governments. That includes the cost of ransoms, insurance premiums, naval forces, security equipment, and other related costs.

Sources: Bloomberg, CNN, Cyprus Mail, International Maritime Bureau, MSNBC, NY Times

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