The Security Association of the Maritime Industry (Sami) reported to the BBC that there were over 200 companies providing security services in the north-west region of the Indian Ocean. 139 companies are members of the association, with almost half of the members being companies based in the United Kingdom.
The companies provide a range of services, from ransom negotiation to armed guards to prevent kidnappings. An armed guard working in a group of three can make up to $634 (500 British Pounds) in a 5-day tour.
As of March 2012, there were over 100 sailors being held for ransom by pirates off the coast of Somalia.
Source: Peter Jackson, “The UK firms who tackle Somali pirates,” BBC News, March 24, 2012.