The Outlaw Ocean Project

Ian Urbina

Ian Urbina is the director of The Outlaw Ocean Project, a non-profit journalism organization based in Washington D.C. that produces investigative stories about human rights, environment and labor concerns on the two thirds of the planet covered by water. 

Before founding The Outlaw Ocean Project, Urbina spent roughly 17 years as a staff reporter for The New York Times. He has received various journalism awards, including a Pulitzer Prize, a George Polk Award and an Emmy nomination. Several of his investigations have also been converted into major motion pictures.

Select Publications

The Secretive Prisons That Keep Migrants Out of Europe

The New Yorker

Purgatory at Sea

The Atlantic

A Slaughter At Sea, A Grainy Video And Justice Delayed

The Washington Post

The Deadly Presence of China’s Invisible Armada

NBC News

Fish Farming is Feeding the Globe. What’s the Cost for Locals?

The New Yorker

The Secret Life of Passwords

The New York Times Magazine

Using Jailed Migrants as a Pool of Cheap Labor

The New York Times

Get Kony

Vanity Fair

Piles of Dirty Secrets Behind a Model ‘Clean Coal’ Project

The New York Times

The Capricious Use of Solitary Confinement Against Detained Immigrants

The Atlantic

The Outlaw Ocean (Series)

The New York Times

Drilling Down (A Series)

The New York Times

For Youths, a Grim Tour on Magazine Crews

The New York Times

Panel Suggests Using Inmates in Drug Trials

The New York Times

In the Treatment of Diabetes, Success Often Does Not Pay

The New York Times

Stars and Stripes

Harper’s Magazine

Awards

Adaptations

Deepwater Horizon

In 2011, Urbina’s reporting was part of a story optioned for the film, Deepwater Horizon with Mark Wahlberg.

Reporting Adapted to Film

Machine Gun Preacher

In 2010, Urbina wrote a profile for Vanity Fair magazine on Sam Childers, a former Hell's Angel and gun runner, turned born-again Christian preacher, who joined the guerrilla fighters in South Sudan. Urbina traveled with Childers and a militia in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, after he was ostensibly hired to kill a brutal warlord named Joseph Kony, leader of a group called the Lord's Resistance Army. In 2011, Childers' life story became the basis of a movie called Machine Gun Preacher, starring Gerard Butler.

Reporting Adapted to Film

Organizations

The Outlaw Ocean Project

A non-profit journalism organization based in Washington D.C. that produces investigative stories about human rights, environment and labor concerns on the two thirds of the planet covered by water.

The Outlaw Ocean Music Project

A global effort to collaborate with musicians for the purpose of disseminating the outlaw ocean reporting to a younger and more diverse audience.

Support the Journalism

Reporting of this type is rare, expensive and urgently needed. The Outlaw Ocean Project is a non-profit organization solely dedicated to publishing more of these stories. Please consider supporting the work by donating to the non-profit or subscribing to our newsletter on Substack.

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