LONDON, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- Global piracy is increasing, with the number of attacks this year already surpassing 2008's total, a British maritime group said Wednesday.
International Chamber of Commerce's International Maritime Bureau said in a release that a total of 306 incidents were reported to the IMB Piracy Reporting Center in the first nine months of 2009. The total number of attacks for 2008 was only 293.
The IMB said the increase is directly attributed to more persistent piracy activity off the Somali Coast, where 47 incidents were reported compared to just 12 for the same period of the previous year, and in the Gulf of Aden, which had 100 incidents compared to 51 for the same period of the previous year.
Even though year-to-date totals are higher, the number of piracy incidents in the third quarter (63) was lower than in the first and second quarters (103 and 140 respectively), which officials said were attributable to monsoons in the Gulf of Aden.
"The naval vessels operating off the Coast of Somalia continue to play a critical role in containing the piracy threat," said IMB Director Captain Pottengal Mukundan.