Piracy reached a new low when, on June 27, a ship carrying 850 tons of rice for famine victims in Somalia was seized 300 kilometers northeast of Mogadishu. The pirates are holding the ten man crew ashore, and demanding $500,000 before they release them. The waters off Somalia are patrolled by NATO warships. But in such a large area, small speedboats full of gunmen can still come out at night and board passing ships. Aid ships are usually left alone, but not this time. There have been five pirate attacks off the Somali coast in the last three months. Ships were warned, on June 22nd, of increased pirate activity off the Somali coast.