In the last decade, shipping off the coast of Somalia was subjected to relentless pirate attacks - the numbers peaking in 2011 with 176 reported cases.
A masked Somali pirate 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, Sept. 23, 2012.
German marine forces as part of the European Union Naval Force Operation Atalanta, intercept a ship with suspected pirates off the coast of Tanzania, November 4, 2011.
Crew members of the Panama-flagged cargo ship MV Asphalt Venture freed by pirates look out from the ship at the Kenyan Port of Mombasa, April 28, 2011.
South Korean naval special forces take up positions during an operation to rescue crew members on the Samho Jewelry vessel in the Arabian Sea, Jan. 21, 2011.