The International Maritime Bureau on Monday reported a 54 percent drop in maritime piracy  in the first six months of the year. The group attributed the decline to anti-piracy operations by international navies off Somalia, increased vigilance, and the use of armed guards by private ships.

The new numbers show that 177 attacks were reported worldwide from January through June. There were 266 reported attacks in the same time period last year. Of the 177 attacks, 20 vessels were hijacked, 334 crew members taken hostage, and at least 4 killed.

Off the Somalia coast, one of the hottest spots for pirate activity, only 69 attacks were reported in the time frame, compared to 163 in the same time last year. However, that drop was somewhat offset by increased attacks in the Gulf of Guinea off the western African coast. Attacks reported there were up from 25 in the first half of 2011 to 32 this year.

The maritime piracy lawyers at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers  represent crewmembers of vessels involved in pirate attacks around the world.