Published: October 2007
Did you Know?
In Did You Know? the National Geographic magazine team shares extra information we gathered to expand your knowledge of our featured subjects.

Pirate attacks have been decreasing in the Strait of Malacca in recent years, but other areas of the world continue to suffer at the hands of pirates. Along the coasts of Somalia and Nigeria, more than a hundred crew members were kidnapped and taken hostage in the first half of 2007. Piracy has also emerged in Iraq, which suffered ten attacks in 2005.

Thanks to the presence of coalition forces, Iraq has at least some degree of protection. Not so for turbulent Somalia, where the lack of an effective central government perpetuates its status as having one of most violent coasts in the world.

“Despite a sustained decrease in acts of piracy over the past three years … we may be seeing a reversal of this trend,” says Capt. Pottengal Mukundan of the International Maritime Bureau. “Somalia and Nigeria remain very dangerous, high-risk areas with large numbers of violent kidnappings and hostage takings.”

—Christy Ullrich