Interesting article here about the piracy problem off the coast of Somalia. According to the article, some 61 ships have been attacked by these pirates, who operate basically a sea-based shakedown operation in which they hold the vessel and crew captive until the shipping company pays the ransom.
This has been a problem in other parts of the world, most notably in the Strait of Malacca. There, nations in the vicinity (Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia) --with US help-- came together to police and patrol the waters, driving the piracy threat down considerably. Off of Somalia, the nearby nations can't field much a maritime effort, so there is a multi-national naval force operating to help deal with this threat.
We must however, keep a sense of perspective. While 61 ships were attacked in this area, some 21,900 were not. While we worked on the new US Maritime Strategy, it was a battle to resist those who would try to raise this threat to a level it did not deserve. This is a problem to be solved largely by attacking the shore-based profiteers from piracy AND through regional naval alliances that in most cases do NOT include US naval vessels. Putting too much emphasis on the interdiction of pirates leads some to the misplaced conclusion that we need to greatly step up the allocation of resources to combat this problem--often times with little or no thought to what the impact of such a shift in resources would mean to the world's most powerful power projection Navy.
Combating piracy must be placed in the context of providing what has come to be called "Maritime Security", which is an area in which our Navy must (and is) begin to devote additional resources. Good order at sea, the ability to police one's own waters, the provision of protection to key offshore industrial sites, reducing smuggling, interdicting narcotics, illegal weapons shipments and weapons of mass destruction....these ALL fall into under the heading of Maritime Security, an increasingly important mission in our closely interconnected world.