Johannesburg: The heyday of Somali piracy seems to be getting over, as number of attacks by the notorious pirates on cargo ships have significantly reduced this year.
According to the European Union Naval Force, Somali pirates hijacked 46 ships in 2009 and 47 in 2010.
In 2011, pirates launched a record number of attacks, 176, but commandeered only 25 ships, an indication that new on-board defences were working.
According to News24, in 2012, pirates have hijacked just five ships, the last on May 10 when the MV Smyrna and its crew of 26 were taken. They are still being held.
"We have witnessed a significant drop in attacks in recent months. The stats speak for themselves," the report quoted Jacqueline Sherriff, a spokesperson for the European Union Naval Force, as saying.
Sherriff attributes the plunge in hijackings mostly to international military efforts, European, American, Chinese, Indian, Russian, that have improved over time.
The report, however, quoted one piracy expert, as saying it's too early to declare victory.
The report pointed out that monsoons have roiled the Indian Ocean the last two months.
When the storms subside in about two weeks and pirates consider returning to sea, the number of successful hijackings, or lack thereof, will go a long way toward telling if the heyday of Somali piracy is truly over, the report added.