"Recent attacks, including those on U.S.-flagged vessels, in the waters off the Horn of Africa have brought new U.S. and international attention to the long-standing problem of piracy in the region. The International Maritime Bureau recorded 111 attacks in the waters off the Horn of Africa in 2008, almost double the number in 2007. As of April 20, 2009, The International Maritime Bureau had counted 84 attacks since January: approximately 300 non-U.S. crew members on 18 hijacked vessels remain in Somali captivity. […]. In January 2009, a multilateral Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) was established to coordinate antipiracy efforts. U.S., NATO, European Union, regional, and other naval forces are currently patrolling waters near Somalia in coordination with a U.S.-led Task Force. Some members of the 111th Congress have expressed concern about the threat posed by piracy, and President Obama has stated that his Administration is resolved to halt the rise of piracy in the Horn of Africa region. On April 15, the Obama Administration outlined preliminary plans for a more robust policy response to the threat of piracy and pledged to continue working through multilateral coordination and enforcement mechanisms established during the Bush Administration. Most experts believe that the reestablishment of government authority in Somalia is the only guarantee that piracy will not persist or reemerge as a threat. Congress may seek to influence U.S. policy through oversight of U.S. military operations and diplomacy and through foreign assistance appropriations and authorizations."
CRS Report for Congress, R40528