Ian Urbina longlist author interview
21 October 2019
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 the unbridled extremes of human behaviour and activity.
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, Urbina introduces us to the inhabitants of this hidden world and their risk-fraught lives. 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.
Ian Urbina spent five years, more than three of them at sea, uncovering the stories in The Outlaw Ocean, which began life as a series of articles for The New York Times that won seven major awards. He is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for The New York Times where his investigations have covered oil and mining disasters, sex trafficking, high-school shooting, criminal justice, worker safety and the environment. Several have been made into films, and he has been nominated for an Emmy. Urbina has degrees in history from Georgetown and the University of Chicago, and lives in Washington, D.C., with his family.
Chris van Tulleken