Piracy on the high seas rose to its highest level in six years in 2009, with attacks becoming more frequent and more violent across the globe, a maritime watchdog said on Thursday.
There were 406 reported incidents of piracy and high-seas armed robbery in 2009, up from 293 the previous year, but below the figure of 445 in 2003, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) said in a report.
"Our hope is that this escalating volume of piracy is met with a heightened response from the governments and their agencies best able to reduce and contain these risks to human life and property," IMB director Pottengal Mukundan said.
The IMB said its piracy reporting centre in Kuala Lumpur received reports of 49 vessels being hijacked last year, 84 attempted attacks and 120 vessels that were fired upon.
A total of 1,052 crew members were taken hostage, 68 injured and eight killed in 2009, it said.