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Somali Piracy Pushes Global Attacks to Record High

A maritime watchdog group says a wave of pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia has pushed the global number of piracy acts to a record high.

The International Maritime Bureau says acts of piracy worldwide jumped 11 percent last year - to 293. The bureau reports that 111 of those incidents took place in the Gulf of Aden off the Somali coast, an increase of nearly 200 percent in that region.

Separately, the owners of a Danish ship held by Somali pirates since November say their ship, the CEC Future, and the ship's crew have been released after a ransom was paid.

A spokesman for the Danish company The Clipper Group says the ransom was parachuted to the pirates from a plane, but he did not specify how much money was paid.

On Thursday U.S. Navy Vice Admiral William Gortney said the United States is nearing a deal with an unidentified country in the region to capture pirates and bring them to trial.

Up until now, no country has been willing to hold the pirates, so the United States has limited its operations to disrupting and deterring pirates, but not capturing them.

Denmark and the United States are two of several nations that have put warships on anti-piracy patrols in the region.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.