World shipping leaders have been urged to co-ordinate the fight against piracy better.
The call to the International Maritime Organization came from the newly-formed Security Association for the Maritime Industry (SAMI).
The association said the threat of piracy meant a growing number of ship owners were employing private security.
The concern is that some of these new security companies are operating unscrupulously and illegally.
SAMI said piracy attacks and hijackings have reached record levels. Since the start of this year, there have been 145 attacks and 22 hijacks in the Indian Ocean alone.
There are 574 seafarers held in captivity by pirates, along with millions of dollars-worth of commodities, and there is no sign of the problem abating.
Under director Peter Cook, who served in the Royal Marines for 24 years, SAMI aims to be the focal point for global maritime security matters.