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Pirate Attacks Nearly Double This Year

PIRACY incidents almost doubled around the globe in the first quarter of 2009, and the upsurge was almost entirely due to a huge increase in attacks by gangs off the Somali coast, the International Maritime Bureau said yesterday.

The London-based watchdog recorded 102 attacks worldwide in the first three months compared with 53 in that period a year ago, with 61 attacks in the Gulf of Aden and off the east coast of Somalia compared with six in the first quarter of 2008.

Somali pirates have made millions of dollars in ransoms hijacking commercial vessels in the busy shipping lanes of the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, despite patrols by foreign navies off the Somali coast, disrupting aid supplies and trade routes.


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