Pirates have been captured by the United States Navy off of the coast of Kenya and Somalia, near 400 miles southeast of Cape Guardafui. The USS Nicholas engaged in battle with pirates early Thursday on the Indian Ocean. Navy officers opened fire on five Somali pirates, sunk their skiff, and later captured the "mother ship." A U.S. Warship is now housing the captive pirates after a second attack on a Taiwanese fishing boat.
Piracy has been a growing problem off of Africa's coast in the past ten years. The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has been tracking significant increases in pirate attacks since 1995, with an increase in the use of guns by pirates during attacks. Pirates cause worldwide trade interruption and losses of $13 to $16 billion dollars per year. Piracy frequently occurs between the Red Sea and Indian Ocean near Somalia's coastline, as well as in the Strait of Malacca and Singapore. In 2009, pirates hijacked or attacked 306 ships with the contents of a ship's safe as well as the crews' personal belongings as a primary target rather than the ship's cargo.