LONDON, England (CNN) -- Violent and predatory pirates are "totally out of control" according to experts; but what can be done to solve the problem?
It's the question that major trading nations, navies and shipping companies are all battling to answer as luxury yachts, large freighters and even competitive race boats face unprecedented levels of piracy.
As of December 5, a staggering 286 crew members aboard 14 vessels were still being held captive by pirates after a significant flurry of attacks that started in July this year.
The center of pirate activity has been the Arabian Sea, east of Africa. The majority of this year's pirate attacks have occurred in the Gulf of Aden region, particularly the waters off the coast of Somalia.