Ian Urbina

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Ian Urbina

Ian Urbina (born March 29, 1972) is an investigative reporter.


  • All of these types of abuses, whether they’re human rights abuses, or environmental crimes, stem from a core problem, which is a lack of governance at sea, especially on the high seas. Specifically, there are three ways in which misbehavior happens offshore routinely and with impunity: too few rules, a lack of enforcement, and insufficient awareness of what is happening there. All of these problems are also connected in the sense that they occur with a certain tacit complicity from all of us who live on land…
  • … Wage theft, the intentional dumping of oil, shark finning—in each of those categories you’ll find people who are the culprits, but if you really try to understand what makes them tick, you’ll see that they’re pretty desperate characters who are victims themselves of a larger, screwed-up system…
  • They go off to sea for nine months, they’re sick half the time, bad things happen to them, they see others die. Then they come back home and they have not a cent in their account. The way it ruins these men in their very spirit is a crime that’s horrific to see. And it’s hard to capture that in writing because wage theft, that term, is so boring. But on the ocean, it’s so pervasive and so ruinous that I would put it up there on par with putting men in an oven and cooking them slowly.

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