In this photo taken Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012, masked Somali pirate Hassan stands near a Taiwanese fishing vessel that washed up on shore after the pirates were paid a ransom and released the crew, in the once-bustling pirate den of Hobyo, Somalia. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)
A maritime watchdog says global sea piracy has fallen to its lowest level since 2008 as threats from Somalia ease.
The International Maritime Bureau said Monday that 233 attacks were recorded worldwide in the first nine months of this year, down from 352 in the same period last year. The numbers fell because attacks off Somalia's coast plummeted during that same period, from 199 last year to 70 this year.
Only one Somali attack was reported in the entire third quarter of 2012. The bureau said Monday that pirates have been deterred by international navies, and by ships taking their own measures, such as hiring armed guards.
The bureau says 24 vessels were hijacked between January and September 2012, with 458 crew members taken hostage and six killed.