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UN seeks action as piracy costs spiral for shipping companies

With pirate attacks, and their associated costs for shipping companies, escalating, the UN wants to bring a more joined-up approach to what has been, so far, an ineffective international response

Piracy costs the global economy around $7bn-12bn a year and is pushing up the costs of using some of the world's busiest shipping routes, says One Earth Future (OEF), a US-based think tank. Most of those costs are incurred as a result of attacks by Somalia-based pirates, whose activities are spreading across the Indian Ocean – although piracy is a worldwide problem. Around $238m was paid to Somali pirates in 2010 alone, with the largest known ship ransom ever paid, $9.5m, made in November to secure the release of a South Korean oil tanker, says the OEF. There has been no let up in the intensity of attacks, with a number of tankers running into confrontations with pirates. By mid-January, So

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