The high seas are beyond the reach of international law – and beyond the beat of most reporters. But Pulitzer-Prize-winner and former New York Times journalist, Ian Urbina, has sailed into uncharted territories. Urbina sets out on a years-long quest to investigate murder at sea, modern slave labour, environmental crimes and quixotic adventurers. Part travelog, part true-crime thriller, this 7-part series takes listeners to places where the laws of the land no longer exist. The Outlaw Ocean is brought to you by CBC Podcasts and the LA Times and produced by The Outlaw Ocean Project.
Introducing: The Outlaw Ocean
High Seas. High Stakes. High Crimes. There are few remaining frontiers on our planet. Perhaps the wildest, and least understood, are the world’s oceans: too big to police, and under no clear international authority, these immense regions of treacherous water play host to rampant criminality and exploitation. The Outlaw Ocean is a 7-part series that explores a gritty and lawless realm rarely seen, populated by traffickers and smugglers, pirates and mercenaries, wreck thieves and repo men, vigilante conservationists and elusive poachers, seabound abortion providers, clandestine oil dumpers, shackled slaves and cast-adrift stowaways. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ian Urbina, the series relies on more than 8 years of reporting at sea on all 7 oceans and more than 3 dozen countries.
Episode 1: The Murder Video
Crimes like this don't often happen on land. A 10-minute slow-motion slaughter captured by a cell phone camera shows a group of unarmed men at sea, possibly 15 of them, killed one by one by a semiautomatic weapon, after which the culprits pose for celebratory selfies. The shocking footage is then made public, and yet no government is willing to investigate, much less prosecute the murderers. This episode traces a tireless journalistic investigation of a shocking video that after 8 years, finally resulted in a 26-year conviction of the ship captain who ordered the cold-blooded killing.
Looking for answers, this reporting takes us to the bizarre world of floating armories, which are part bunkhouse, part weapons depot, where maritime mercenaries wait for their next ship deployment. For broader context, the story explores the explosion of violence on the high seas, how Somali piracy is often used as a pretext for bloodletting by private security guards and the reasons that offshore crime often happens with impunity.
Duncan Copeland, Trygg Mat Tracking
Kevin Thompson, Private Maritime Security Guard
I love true crime podcasts. But this takes it to another level. It is frightening but so captivating.
Good info, Horrible audio quality
Really great information, incredibly captivating & so interesting! 5 stars for content, 1 star for audio quality. But I don’t think this was recorded as a podcast. The audio is incredibly quiet, then incredibly loud, it goes back and forth. Don’t recommend wearing AirPods while listening. It’s annoying to have to turn up and down over & over. Kills phone & airpod batteries.
Fascinating look at the security, labor, and enviornment challenges on the high seas
Discovered Ian’s work on a maritime security podcast years ago. Am so encouraged by his reporting and efforts aimed at bringing attention to maritime security and human rights challenges on the high seas. Thrilled that the Outlaw Ocean project now his it’s own podcast. BZ to Ian and team on a great episode. Looking forward to the rest of the series.