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Dispatches From The Outlaw Ocean Episode 10: Freedom or Death

Migrants with life jackets
Ed Ou/The Outlaw Ocean Project

Published Jun 19, 2023 4:50 PM by Ian Urbina

This episode is the tenth and final installment in a short film series from The Outlaw Ocean Project. It stems from more than a decade of reporting by 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.

In international waters between the African and European coasts, an almost daily battle occurs.

Ian Urbina explains how the EU is trying to stem the flow of migrants by creating a shadow immigration system that captures migrants before they reach the high seas and sends them back to Libyan detention centers run by militia. This film, shot aboard a Médecins Sans Frontières ship, reports on the desperate race between humanitarian NGOs and the Libyan Coast Guard to reach the overflowing migrant ships in the Mediterranean. Whoever wins, determines the fate of the passengers within.

The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.