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Maritime Watchdog: Piracy Falls to Six-Year Low

FILE - 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 Hobyo, Somalia, September 2012.
An international maritime watchdog says piracy at sea fell to its lowest levels in six years in 2013, due in part to a significant drop in incidents off the coast of Somalia.

The International Maritime Bureau [IMB] says there were 264 attacks last year, including 15 incidents off the Somali coast. The IMB says there were 75 incidents near Somalia in 2012.

The IMB says a number of factors have contributed to the decline in piracy incidents off the Somali coast, including a use of armed security teams and the role of international navies. The group also credits increased stability in Somalia's central government.

The IMB says piracy in West Africa made up almost one-fifth of attacks worldwide last year. Many of those involved Nigerian pirates and armed groups.

In October, the IMB said the attacks had made West African waters among the most dangerous in the world.