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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

The Outlaw Ocean is a riveting, adrenalin-fuelled tour of a vast, lawless and rampantly criminal world that few have ever seen: the high seas.

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.

©2019 Ian Urbina (P)2019 Penguin Audio

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Gripping

This is an eye opening must-read. Very well read too. Cannot reccomend enough. I couldn't stop listening.

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A brilliant piece of journalism

I was recommended this book by a friend who set up a foundation that supports work in the marine realm. She raved about it, and I really didn't that it could be as good as she said. I realized I was due to hear the author speak at an event I was going to, so I decided to read it. My friend was not exaggerating -- this is a remarkable book. I had little idea about unruly the oceans were, and the, often awful, behaviors that happened there to both to the people who work the high seas and the wildlife that inhabit it. The book changed my behavior. I now only buy fish that I am persuaded has been caught sustainably and without exploiting sea-slaves. I cannot recommend this book enough.

I was lucky enough to meet the author at the event I attended. He is knowledgeable, thoughtful, and modest, despite the remarkable, often risky, work he does to catalogue the atrocities that are all to common to those who their lives on the waves.

I found the narrator's style a tad robotic and monotonous. The reading could have benefited from a little more emotion.

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👍

An excellent insight into the darker side of the marine world. But contrasted with the stories of people trying to do the right thing.

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intersting but not totally gripping

So the seas are basically free for all zones as no government really wants the hassle of trying to prosecute people who commit a crime on a foreign registered boat in the waters of another country flying a flag of another foreign country...even when they did prosecute a large cruise liner for sea dumping the fines almost made it cheap to repeat their actions.
It was well researched but did wander off track a bit.
It does make you think ,was that cheap tin of tuna produced by sea slaves ? or was the expensive tin also produced by the same sea slaves but put on a larger boat and "lost" in the paperwork to appear legit.
overall it did introduce me to subjects i had never thought of eg abortions at sea and reminded me how much corruption there is in the world.

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An absorbing, eye-opening listen

It isn't often you listen to something that reveals a world you didn't know existed. I was totally absorbed from start to finish, even though the subject matter was often incredibly depressing. A wonderful work of investigative journalism.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

amazing true stories from the high seas.

the book is a collection of this investigative journalist's articles from the NY Times. It is informative, fascinating... he's also a highly accomplished storyteller. Highlights included the Sealand coup, the abortion boat and the writer's escape from wartorn Djibouti. Seriously recommend.

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  • Damien
  • 30-11-20

Could have done with some more editing

There is some good stuff in this book. Some of the stories are honestly shocking. However there are also some boring sections and it is overly long at almost 18 hours. I think they could have trimmed 2 or 3 hours easily.