Figures released by the International Maritime Organisation show a dramatic drop in piracy this year. It catalogued just 70 incidents in the first nine months, a 75 per cent fall off from the same period in 2011 and a three year low.
Mr Kelly said that the combination of increased patrolling by navies from the US, Europe and Asia as well as the employment of armed guards on ships was a turning point in the battle against piracy.
"There was a lot of reticence in a lot of places about using these crews but people learned through experience that this was a critically important factor in reducing the number of instances," Mr Kelly said. "Its hard enough to climb up the side of a ship with a Kalashnikov on your back but it's harder when you have some someone shooting down at you."
Four fifths of container ships and tankers now carry armed guards, leaving pirates with fewer targets to go after.
"Pirates break off attack and look for softer targets," he said. "We estimate 80 per cent of ships are using private security. We'd like it to be 100 per cent."