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World sea piracy drops 28 percent in first quarter April 23,2012   |  Source: AP

Sea piracy worldwide dropped 28 percent in the first quarter of the year as attacks fell sharply in Somalia's waters thanks to international naval patrols, an international maritime watchdog said Monday.

Pirate attacks intensified, however, in Nigeria and Indonesia.

The number of worldwide attacks in January to March dipped to 102, down from 142 cases in the same period in 2011, the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting center in Kuala Lumpur said in a report. It said 11 vessels were hijacked and 212 crew members taken hostage, compared with 18 ships seized and 344 people taken hostage a year ago.

In Somalia, there were 43 attacks, including nine vessel hijackings, compared with 97 attacks a year ago. The agency attributed the decline to "disruptive actions and pre-emptive strikes" by navies in the region.

Multiple navies -- including a large U.S. presence -- patrol the Gulf of Aden and the wider Indian Ocean, and many private ships now carry armed guards.

The European Union Naval Force recently said it would expand its mission to include Somalia's coast and waterways inside the country for the first time, making its battle against piracy more proactive.

"It is unlikely that the threat of Somali piracy will diminish in the short to medium term unless


© 2012 Bloomberg L.P.

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