May 19 - An international maritime safety body has produced statistics to show that pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia so far this year have already exceeded 2008's total.

Figures released by the International Maritime Bureau's Piracy Reporting Centre show that by early May there had been 114 attempted attacks, three more than in the whole of 2008, with 29 successful kidnappings in 2009 compared with 2008's 42 successful attempts.


The IMO puts the drop in successful attacks down to heightened international naval presence.

Heavy lift ships have not been immune to attack or hijacking: in September last year, the BBC Trinidad and its crew of 13 was seized and detained for three weeks before release.