International attention on piracy and its impacts on global shipping has shifted in the last couple of years from Southeast Asia to the Gulf of Aden and below. This shift seems justified both by the growth in the number of successful piracy attacks in and around the Gulf of Aden and the sharp and sustained fall-off in such incidents in Southeast Asia.

Figures from the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) show piracy incidents in Southeast Asia peaked in 2000 at 242 (over half of the 469 recorded globally), while incidents off the coast of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden only accounted for 22 (less than 5% of the global total).

By 2009, the situation had reversed. Southeast Asia only accounted for 45 out of 406 incidents (11%), while the Gulf of Aden area accounted for 217 (53% of the global total). The 2009 figure for Southeast Asia is the lowest recorded by the Bureau since 1994.

It seems that domestic (particularly in Indonesia) and regional anti-piracy efforts are paying dividends in Southeast Asia, though the IMB's live piracy map covering incidents in 2010 suggests not all is well in Southeast Asia.

Photo by Flickr user greekadman, used under a Creative Commons license.