There were 49 ships reported pirate attacks in the first three months of 2008, up from 41 in that period of 2007. According to the ICC International Maritime Bureau, in those attacks: "Seven crew members were taken hostage, six kidnapped, three killed and one missing – presumed dead." Up until mid-November 2008, more than 90 vessels had been attacked by pirates in the year. At the same time, with a more than 75 per cent increase since the previous year, pirates were holding 13 ships captive in the Somali ports of Eyl and Hobyo.
1 February - Somali pirates seize the Russian-built tugboat, Svitzer Korsakov.
17 March - Svitzer Korsakov was released after ransom of $700,000 was paid.
4 April - Somali pirates seize the French sail cruise ship, Le Ponant, with its 30 crew members. No passengers were aboard at the time.
12 April - After a $2m (£1m) ransom was paid, the crew of the Le Ponant are released. Hours later, French soldiers deployed by helicopter seize 6 pirates ashore in their village and recover part of the ransom.
19 April - Somali pirates seize the Spanish fishing boat, Playa de Bakio with its 26 crew.
21 April - Somali pirates seize the Dubai freighter, Al-Khaleej.
22 April - Puntland troops board the Al-Khaleej, killing one pirate and arresting seven others. The ship's crew were all rescued unharmed. Eleven pirates and associates would be sentenced to life imprisonment the next week.
26 April - Playa de Bakio and crew released after a reported $1.2 million ransom was paid.
17 May - Victoria carrying 4,000 tons of donated sugar was hijacked 55 km off Somalia.
20 July - MV Stella Maris, a Japanese-owned bulk carrier with a 20 all-Filipino crew was seized.
12 August - MV Thor Star, a Thai freighter delivering plywood to Aden was seized.
12 August - MT Yengeoa Ocean, a Nigerian tugboat was seized.
19 August - MT Bunga Melati 5, a Malaysian chemical freighter was seized.
21 August - MT Irene, a Japanese-owned tanker with 16 Filipinos and four other foreign nationals was seized.