Three quarters of the world is made up of ocean: vast, untamed expanses of water, impossible to police rigorously. For travellers by sea there is an ever-present danger of shipwreck, the age-old problem of piracy, and now an alarming new threat of terrorism.
Forty-three thousand gargantuan ships navigate their way across the oceans, carrying nearly all the raw material and products on which our lives depend. Out at sea, ships become tiny islands, with their own distinct and isolated rules. Many are owned or managed by companies so ghostly that they only exist on paper. William Langewiesche vividly reports on the unforgiving and brutal forces to which those who take to the sea are exposed. He explores both the murky politics of the world’s oceans and brings us gripping, often tragic, human stories from the sea. Taking in an extraordinary event of sophisticated piracy in the Malacca Straight, reporting on the appalling conditions of India’s shipbreaking trade, and giving a gripping minute by minute account of the sinking of the Estonia passenger ferry in 1994, The Outlaw Sea by turns enthrals and terrifies. 239 pages PB