Journalist Ian Urbina spent five years documenting crimes at sea like arms trafficking, illegal fishing, and sea slavery—and how they have a ripple effect on the environment.
Urbina is an investigative journalist who spent five years reporting offshore crimes in international waters across all five oceans that violate human rights laws and environmental regulations
“One of the things that I really wanted to do was look at the intersection of environmental and human rights,” he explained. “It is a real thing to think about the ways in which one type of crime often drives the other.”
One example Urbina gave is sea slavery and extreme industrial fishing, which not only present human rights offenses but have depleted marine life to extreme degrees. He says the mistreatment of our oceans impacts those who rely on the sea’s resources, as well as our environment and economy.
“Think of the planet as sort of a living organism. And think of the oceans as a kind of a wonder organ that serves lots of purposes,” he said. “50% of the air we breathe comes from the oceans. The ability of the planet to regulate its temperature: hugely dictated and controlled by the oceans.”
Urbina released the book “The Outlaw Ocean” on August 20, 2019. It chronicles offshore crime, including slavery, smuggling, and dumping. It also provides readers with a guide to informative organizations and resource guides for better consumer practices.