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Somali pirates have attacked 640 ships and taken more than 3,150 hostages since 2007. A few U.S.-flagged vessels have been affected--most recently the SV Quest, a private yacht on which four Americans were killed in February 2011. The growing frequency and severity of attacks renew the urgency to address the piracy threat. As Somalia is unable to repress piracy, the U.S. National Security Council (NSC) developed the interagency Countering Piracy off the Horn of Africa: Partnership and Action Plan in December 2008 to prevent, disrupt, and prosecute piracy in collaboration with international and industry partners. In September 2010, GAO issued a report evaluating the extent to which U.S. agencies (1) have implemented the plan, and the challenges they face, and (2) have collaborated with partners. This testimony is based on the September 2010 report and its objectives, and work GAO conducted in March 2011 to update report findings.

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