High Seas

Dispatches from the Outlaw Ocean: Episode 2 'Bondage at sea' out now

24/04/2023
Written by Oceanographic Staff
Photograph by Fábio Nascimento/The Outlaw Ocean Project

The high seas are a lawless frontier where crimes such as murder, slavery and environmental destruction are often met with impunity and overlooked by the media. But the ocean is also a place of discovery and reinvention, offering freedom from the constraints of society.

A new 10-part short film series by The Outlaw Ocean Project stems from over a decade of reporting by our columnist Ian Urbina exploring crime on the high seas. The series chronicles a gritty cast of characters including traffickers and smugglers, pirates and mercenaries, shackled slaves and vigilante conservationists.

Over the next ten weeks, we will exclusively share all episodes of ‘Dispatches from the Outlaw Ocean’ as they come out.

Episode 2 – ‘Bondage at sea’ – has come out today out on Monday, 24 April. In this episode, Ian Urbina takes viewers onboard roach and rat-infested ships on the South China Sea to explore how overfishing has given rise to trans-shipment, fish-laundering, and a prevalence of abuse that companies and governments have a tough time tracking or countering. 

Our oceans are running out of fish. As stocks disappear, ships are having to travel farther offshore to fulfil their quotas and margins for profit have become razor thin. As a result, captains increasingly turn to trafficked, debt-bonded and forced labor to make ends meet. A global scourge, sea slavery is something most people do not realise exists.

SENSITIVE CONTENT WARNING: The following video might contain graphic or violent scenes which some people may find offensive or disturbing.

Watch Episode 2 here or on The Outlaw Ocean’s website:

Written by Oceanographic Staff
Photograph by Fábio Nascimento/The Outlaw Ocean Project

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