Pirate attacks in East and West Africa are rising, according to the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

A total of 439 attacks were reported in 2011, 275 of which took place off Somalia on the east coast and in the Gulf of Guinea on the west coast of Africa, reports the ICC’s International Maritime Bureau’s (IMB) global piracy report.

Somali pirates continue to account for the majority of attacks – approximately 54%. The IMB report shows that Somali pirate attacks were predominantly concentrated within the cross roads of the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

Elsewhere, Nigeria and Benin continued to be piracy hotspots. 10 attacks were reported in Nigeria, although this number is not representative of the real threat due to attacks being underreported. The IMB believes there has been an additional 34 incidents in Nigerian waters, at least.

Indonesia has seen a rise in armed robbery for the second straight year with incidents continuing to be local and opportunistic, according to IMB, and usually against anchored vessels.

The 46 reported incidents (up from 40 in 2010) include 41 vessels boarded, two attempted attacks and three cases of tugs and barges being hijacked whilst underway.

In south east Asia and the Indian subcontinent, vessels in Bangladesh reported 10 incidents of armed robbery in the approaches to Chittagong − a significant reduction from the 23 incidents reported in 2010.

Similarly, attacks in the South China Sea fell from 31 in 2010 to 13 in 2011. This included nine boarded vessels, three attempted attacks, and the hijacking of one tug and its barge, the IMB reports.