According to this IHT article, the International Maritime Bureau, which tracks piracy, says that global pirate attacks rose 10 percent in 2007, marking the first increase in three years. Pirates seized more than two dozen ships off the Somali coast last year alone, AP reports. The U.S. Navy has led international patrols to try to combat piracy in the region. Last year, the guided missile destroyer USS Porter opened fire to destroy pirate skiffs tied to a Japanese tanker.
Just last Friday, pirates seized control of a French cruise ship off the coast of Somalia. Attackers stormed the 288-foot Le Ponant, in the high seas in the Gulf of Aden, as it returned without passengers–but with 30 crew members–from the Seychelles, in the Indian Ocean, toward the Mediterranean Sea. Elite French troops were sent to East Africa to bolster efforts to free the yacht captives.
According to the latest update from AP, pirates just freed those 30 hostages. The French government would not say whether any pirates were captured nor whether the vessel had been retaken.