According to NATO, piracy's recent peak actually came in 2003, with approximately 450 acts worldwide. In the last few years, it's hovered more in the 250-to-300 range, but 2009 gives all indications of being a banner year. Most estimates say the Somali pirates alone pulled in about $150 million in ransom in 2008, and that was only from tapping about one in every 100 cargo ships.
Given those odds, you can expect the shipping companies to continue resisting the calls for armed guards on ships. It's simply easier to write off what are, to them, paltry costs from the occasional ransom payment.
But here's the rub for navies worldwide: Container traffic, while temporarily depressed by the economic slowdown, is expected to continue growing by leaps and bounds in the years ahead, much like it doubled over the last decade. Prior to 9/11, less than 1 percent of containers were seriously inspected, and even today I'd be amazed to come across figures that seriously suggested double-digit percentages were being achieved consistently by anybody, despite the many promises by politicians to have 100 percent transparency in the future.
"The presentation or 'gift' of the Holy Ghost simply confers upon a man the right to receive at any time, when he is worthy of it and desires it, the power and light of truth of the Holy Ghost, although he may often be left to his own spirit and judgment." --Joseph F. Smith (manual, p. 69)
"Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."