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Sea Transportation: Putting Piracy Into Perspective

October 21, 2006: During 2005, there were some 275 incidents of criminality at sea, that were classed as piracy. Of these, nearly a third occurred off the Malay coast in the Straits of Malacca (SOM) or adjacent waters. While there's a lot of concern about piracy, in fact it's a pretty marginal problem. Annual maritime traffic through the SOM runs about 70,000 ships, so on average about one ship has a run-in with pirates out of every 825 or so passing through the straits. In fact, a ship in the SOM has a lower chance of becoming a victim of piracy than the average American has of being the victim of a violent crime. During 2005 about 1 American out of every 215 was the victim of a violent crime. Moreover, the most recent piracy hotspot, the coast fo Somalia, has become much more peaceful since Islamic conservatives have captured all the Somali ports, and forced the pirates to sin no more.