The Outlaw Ocean: Journeys Across the Last Untamed Frontier by Ian Urbina


A riveting, adrenaline-fueled tour of a vast, lawless and rampantly criminal world that few have ever seen: the high seas.

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“A remarkable work of investigative journalism, Urbina transports us to a place few of us will ever know even as it encompasses the majority of our planet.

From the first page, the reader is thrown into the chaotic sea and taken on a journey through this last wild frontier. True to the sea, to the changing currents and vast distances and absolute threats, this book is not pretty; like the great oceans, though, it is necessary.

The majority of the book is spent on the high seas or near them where laws are more like suggestions and bribery is almost always an option. Urbina gives us a firsthand account of the atrocities committed at sea, from illegal trawling to kidnapping to abuse, while also showing us glimmers of change: vigilante environmentalists, increased patrolling around the furthest islands, and the existence of his reportage itself.

This book is both sobering and daring, an account that will keep your heart in your throat until the last page (and, hopefully, beyond).”

<3 Miranda

There are few remaining frontiers on our planet. But 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.

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—drawing on five years of perilous and intrepid reporting, often hundreds of miles from shore, Ian Urbina introduces us to the inhabitants of this hidden world. Through their stories of astonishing courage and brutality, survival and tragedy, he uncovers a globe-spanning network of crime and exploitation that emanates from the fishing, oil and shipping industries, and on which the world’s economies rely.

Both a gripping adventure story and a stunning exposé, this unique work of reportage brings fully into view for the first time the disturbing reality of a floating world that connects us all, a place where anyone can do anything because no one is watching.

The Outlaw Ocean: Journeys Across the Last Untamed Frontier by Ian Urbina
Epilogue BCB