A new report says piracy affected more ships and sailors off West Africa than off Somalia's coast last year.

The report drawing on data from the International Maritime Bureau said nearly 1,000 seafarers and fishermen were attacked by pirates armed with guns or knives in the Gulf of Guinea. More than 200 people were taken hostage.

The report said attacks on commercial ships in West Africa have become more frequent and are now occurring across a broader geographic area. Pirates in the region are aided by weak navies and coast guards, as well as a lack of awareness about the threats they pose.

The cost of piracy in West Africa totaled up to $950 million last year, the report said.