Discuss as:

Somalia pirate dens see decline as international efforts to stop seizures succeed

Farah Abdi Warsameh / AP

Somali pirate Hassan stands near a Taiwanese fishing vessel that washed up on shore after pirates were paid a ransom and released the crew, in the once-bustling pirate den of Hobyo, Somalia. "There's nothing to do here these days. The hopes for a revitalized market are not high," said Hassan, a high school graduate who taught English in private school before turning to piracy in 2009.

Farah Abdi Warsameh / AP

A Somali government soldier walks next to some of the overturned pirate skiffs that litter the dunes on the shoreline near the once-bustling pirate den of Hobyo, Somalia.

Farah Abdi Warsameh / AP

Prostitute Faduma Ali, who longs for the days when her pirate customers had money, chews the stimulant khat and smokes a cigarette at a house in the once-bustling pirate town of Galkayo, Somalia. "Those days are over. Can you pay me $1,000?" she asked, the price she once commanded for a night's work. "If not, goodbye and leave me alone."

Farah Abdi Warsameh / AP

A child displaced from another region of Somalia stands in his family's makeshift shop in the once-bustling pirate town of Galkayo, Somalia.

Farah Abdi Warsameh / AP

A Somali metalsmith sells knives at his street stall in the once-bustling pirate town of Galkayo, Somalia.

International efforts to stop piracy off the Somalia coast are proving successful as numbers of ceased vessels in 2012 dramatically decline, but some experts think it's too early to declare victory.

AP reports: Somali pirates hijacked 46 ships in 2009 and 47 in 2010, the European Union Naval Force says. In 2011, pirates launched a record number of attacks — 176 — but commandeered only 25 ships, an indication that new on-board defenses were working. This year, pirates have hijacked just five ships, the last on May 10 when the MV Smyrna and its crew of 26 were taken. They are still being held. Continue reading the story.

The empty whisky bottles and overturned, sand-filled skiffs that litter this once-bustling shoreline are signs that the heyday of Somali piracy may be over. Most of the prostitutes are gone, the luxury cars repossessed. Pirates talk more about catching lobsters than seizing cargo ships.