International: New York Times ‘Outlaw Ocean’ Articles Inspire Class Actions


We published details earlier this year of a series of articles by New York Times Journalist, Ian Urbina, entitled ‘The Outlaw Ocean’.

This is a section from his first article:

“Few places on the planet are as lawless as the high seas, where egregious crimes are routinely committed with impunity. Though the global economy is ever more dependent on a fleet of more than four million fishing and small cargo vessels and 100,000 large merchant ships that haul about 90 percent of the world’s goods, today’s maritime laws have hardly more teeth than they did centuries ago when history’s great empires first explored the oceans’ farthest reaches.

“Murders regularly occur offshore – thousands of seafarers, fishermen or sea migrants die under suspicious circumstances annually, maritime officials say – but culprits are rarely held accountable. No one is required to report violent crimes committed in international waters.”

As indicated part of the series focused on the sea fishing industry and the forced labour conditions some seafarers in the third world endure to put food on our tables.

Ian has been in touch again to tell me about “about efforts by lawyers, lawmakers, companies and others to begin confronting growing concerns about sea slavery. Though these are small-bore and just nascent steps in the face of what, quite frankly, is a sprawling and complicated problem, I’m thrilled to see the efforts being made.”

He attached a link to an article highlighting class-action law suits filed in the United States against major companies to force change:

He also indicated that the NYT has more instalments of its ‘Outlaw Ocean’ series to come.

The Celtic League supported this initiative from the start and as an accredited UN NGO we have lobbied both the IMO and ILO to highlight the disturbing revelations about life at sea made by the New York Times.

We will be following this up by advising both bodies (IMO/ILO) that concerned citizens are not prepared to sit and wait for governments and international bodies to act they are taking the initiative themselves!

Related links:


Issued by: The Celtic News



The Celtic League established in 1961 has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It promotes cooperation between the countries and campaigns on a range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, military activity and socio-economic issues


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