[JURIST] 2009 marked the worst year for maritime piracy [JURIST news archive] in six years, according to a report [press release] issued Thursday by the International Chamber of Commerce International Maritime Bureau (IMB) [official website]. The total reported incidents of piracy reached 406, surpassing 400 for the first time since 2003. It is the third consecutive year that reports have increased rising from 239 reported incidents in 2006. According to the report, in 2009, there were 153 vessels boarded, 1052 crew members taken hostage, 49 vessels hijacked, 84 attempted attacks, and 120 vessels fired upon. Violence against crew has also increased with 68 injured and eight killed. The report showed that Somali pirates were responsible for more than half the reported incidents with 217 total. Piracy off the coast of Somalia continued early in 2010 when two ships were captured [AP report] on January 2 off the cost of Somalia: the British-flagged Asian Glory roughly 600 miles east of Somalia and the Singaporean-flagged chemical tanker the Pramoni, in the Gulf of Aden north of Somalia.
Earlier this week, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York filed a superseding indictment [JURIST report] against alleged Somali pirate Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse, claiming that he led the takeover of two additional ships. Muse plead not guilty to the charges. In November, Somali judge Mohamed Abdi Aware, known for jailing suspected pirates, human traffickers, and Islamist insurgents, was shot dead [JURIST report] while leaving a mosque in the Puntland city of Bossaso. In July, the IMB reported [JURIST report] that pirate attacks around the globe doubled in the first half of 2009.