Since August 2008, piracy in the waters around Somalia has exploded. The international response to this increase has heretofore been largely confined to conducting law enforcement responses to distress calls on the high seas. In spite of the presence of approximately 30 warships from at least 16 navies, monthly attack totals have increased, with the main variations being related to monsoons. The naval effort has therefore been unable to stamp out piracy on its own.
The maritime industry could combat this scourge by embarking security teams on merchant ships. An armed security force, however, can cost up to $100,000 per transit, and even an unarmed security detail can cost tens of thousands of dollars per transit. This is prohibitively expensive for most ship owners. Additionally, ships are typically not allowed to pull into foreign ports with firearms on board.