updated 7/28/2009 2:35:34 PM ET 2009-07-28T18:35:34

The U.S. Navy is warning of increased pirate activity off the coast of Somalia because of the advent of weather more favorable to the sea-borne criminals.

The Navy says rough seas in the Gulf of Aden had resulted in fewer attacks in recent weeks.

With the monsoon rain season ending in four to six weeks pirate activity is expected to increase, the Navy said in a statement Monday.

The Navy advised mariners to use a designated corridor when transiting the Gulf of Aden. The corridor is patrolled by a combined task force of 30 warships and aircraft from 16 nations.

The task force urged merchant ships to remain vigilant.

"While our ability to deter and disrupt attacks has improved over time, we are constantly adapting the way we do our business as the pirates adapt and modify their tactics," Turkish Rear Adm. Caner Bener, commander of the combined task force, said in a statement.

Somali pirates carried out hundreds of attacks this year. They currently hold around a dozen ships awaiting ransom payments.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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