World sea piracy drops
28 percent in first quarter

A maritime watchdog says sea piracy worldwide dropped 28 percent from a year ago in the first quarter as attacks fell sharply off Somalia, thanks to international naval patrols.

The International Maritime Bureau says attacks dipped to 102 in the first three months, down from 142 cases in the same period in 2011. It says 11 vessels were hijacked and 212 crew members taken hostage, compared with 18 ships seized and 344 people taken hostage a year ago.

It said Monday that Somalia continued to dominate with 43 attacks including nine hijacked vessels, down from 97 raids a year ago. It welcomed the EU's plan to target pirates ashore, saying the Somali piracy threat cannot be eliminated unless further actions were taken.

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