Piracy off the coast of Somalia has been a threat to international shipping since the second phase of the Somali Civil War in the early 21st century. Since 2005, many organizations have expressed concern over the rise in acts of piracy. Piracy impeded the delivery of shipments and increased shipping expenses, costing an estimated $6.6 to $6.9 billion a year in trade in 2011 according to Oceans Beyond Piracy. According to the German Institute for Economic Research, an industry of profiteers also arose around the piracy. Insurance companies significantly increased their profits from the attacks, as the firms hiked rate premiums in response. In response, the fishermen began forming armed groups to stop the foreign ships and they eventually turned to hijacking commercial vessels for ransom as an alternate source of income. The pirates also believed that they were protecting their fishing grounds and exacting justice and this is reflected in the names adopted by some of the pirate networks, such as the National Volunteer Coast Guard, which are testimony to the pirates initial motivations. However, as piracy became more lucrative, other reports have speculated that financial gain became the primary motive for the pirates. Combined Task Force 150, a multinational task force, took on the role of fighting piracy off the coast of Somalia by establishing a Maritime Security Patrol Area within the Gulf of Aden. The increasing threat posed by piracy has also caused concern in India since most of its trade routes pass through the Gulf of Aden. The Indian Navy responded to concerns by deploying warships in the region on October 2008. In September 2008, Russia announced that it too would join international efforts to combat piracy. By the end of 2011, pirates had managed to only four ships off the coast of Somalia,22 fewer than the 26 they had captured in each of the two previous years. They also attempted unsuccessful attacks on 52 other vessels,16 fewer than the year prior, as of October 2016, there were no major vessels or hostages remaining in pirate captivity. According to another source, there were 151 attacks on ships in 2011, compared to 127 in 2010 –, pirates had held 10 vessels and 159 hostages in February 2012. In 2011, pirates earned $146m, an average of $4.87 million per ship, an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 pirates operated. By February 20121,000 had been captured and were going through legal processes in 21 countries. About 25 military vessels from EU and NATO countries, China, Russia, India and Japan patrolled approximately 8.3 million km2 of ocean, on 16 July 2012, the EU launched a new operation, EUCAP Nestor
Map of areas under threat by Somali pirates (2005–2010)
Somalia's coral reefs, ecological parks and protected areas
Armed pirates in the Indian Ocean near Somalia. After the picture was taken, the vessel's crew members opened fire on U.S. Navy ships and the ship's crew members returned fire. One suspected pirate was killed and 12 were taken into custody (see engaged pirate vessels).