For the first time since 2003, the number of pirate attacks on merchant ships increased last year, the Sunday Times newspaper reported Sunday in Johannesburg.
The paper, citing figures by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), said there were 263 pirate attacks worldwide in 2007, up 10 per cent from the year before.
At the same time, violence against crews increased dramatically, with 64 merchant seamen injured and 292 taken hostage last year. The year before the figures were 17 injured and 188 taken hostage.
The most dangerous region for merchant shipping were the waters off Africa's coasts, above all offshore from Nigeria and Somalia, the report said. ( Dpa )