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Ian Urbina


Saving the planet while ignoring two thirds of it

For centuries, humanity has viewed the ocean as a metaphor for infinity. The assumption was—and frankly still is for many people—that the enormity of...

Worsening state of seafarers

In the Suez Canal, a sideways-turned ship led to a $10 billion traffic jam. In the Port of LA, a Covid-induced bottleneck of dozens...

The smell of money

Gunjur, a town of some fifteen thousand people, sits on the Atlantic coastline of southern Gambia, the smallest country in mainland Africa. In the...

The politics of fishmeal in Gambia

The double-edged sword of foreign investment I recently went on a long patrol off the coast of Gambia to investigate the topic of fishmeal, which...

Gambia leans on NGOs to police illegal fishing practices

More than eighty percent of the world’s wild fish stocks have collapsed. With global demand for seafood doubling since the 1960s, this appetite is...

Conviction in notorious case of mass murder at sea

WASHINGTON -- A District Court in Taiwan sentenced a fishing boat captain from China to 26 years in prison after he was found...

Crime in the high seas

Bullets spray the water around one flailing man. One round catches him. His body stills. Blood plumes in the blue ocean. Later, deckhands laugh and pose for photos.

Geopolitics and China’s fishing armada

board a South Korean squid boat in May 2019, I watched nearly two dozen ships flying Chinese flags make their way single file into North Korean waters, in flagrant violation of United Nations sanctions.

Before the Blast

These are the factors that make it so easy for vessel owners and operators to walk away from their responsibilities usually with impunity, and sometimes with life-or-death consequences for the crew that gets left behind.

The mysterious ’ghost boats’ of North Korea

Summary: This investigative reporting by "The Outlaw Ocean Project" deep dives into China's expansive fishing industry and its link to the mysterious "ghost boats" of North Korea.