KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – A global maritime watchdog says pirates captured a record-setting 1,181 hostages in 2010 as ship hijackings in waters off Somalia escalated.
The International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting center says attackers seized 53 vessels worldwide last year. All but four of them were off the coast of Somalia.
The Kuala Lumpur-based center's director, Pottengal Mukundan, said Tuesday that the numbers of hostages and vessels taken were the highest since the center began monitoring attacks in 1991. Eight crew members were killed in the attacks.
The center says in its annual report that the Somali attacks accounted for 1,016 hostages held for ransom. The pirates still had 28 vessels and 638 captives at the end of 2010.