[JURIST] The International Maritime Bureau (IMB), a specialized division of the International Chamber of Commerce [official websites] reported [press release] on Wednesday that maritime pirate attacks have reached their lowest levels in six years, dropping 40 percent since 2011. Pottengal Mukundan, Director of the IMB, attributes the decrease in attacks to a clampdown on piracy in Somalia [BBC profile]. Somalia experienced 237 pirate attacks in 2011, but only 15 incidents in 2013. Mukundan says that Somali pirates have been deterred by the role of international navies, the hardening of vessels, the use of private armed guards and the stabilizing influence of Somali's central government. The 15 incidents in Somalia included two hijacked vessels that were returned within a day due to naval interference and eight vessels fired upon. While Somali piracy incidents made up a small portion of the total attacks in 2013, 15 of 264, the eight hijacking incidents represents the majority of the total of 12 hijacking incidents.
A number of countries around the world have taken actions in the attempt to solve the problem of maritime piracy [JURIST news archive]. In October three Somali pirates accused of hijacking [JURIST report] a private yacht off the coast of Somalia in 2009 went on trial in France. In August a jury in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia [official website] convicted [JURIST report] three Somali men of hijacking a boat and killing four Americans in 2011 off the coast of Somalia. In February the Abu Dhabi Federal Appeal Court upheld the sentences [JURIST report] of ten Somali pirates convicted of highjacking a UAE-owned bulk-carrier ship in April 2011. In October 2012 the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court of Hamburg [official website, in German] issued sentences [JURIST report] for 10 Somalis who were involved in the hijacking the German freighter MS Taipan off the coast of Somalia two years ago.