In December 2014, the longest pursuit of an illegal fishing vessel in nautical history began. It spanned 110 days, across more than 11,550 nautical miles, crossing three oceans and two seas.
A non-profit maritime environmental group called Sea Shepherd was doing what government’s should have: pursuing the world’s most notorious fishing scofflaw, a ship called The Thunder, which at the time topped Interpol’s most wanted list. This cat-and-mouse pursuit would take Sea Shepherd’s crew through an unforgiving obstacle course of stadium-sized ice sheets, a ferocious storm, violent clashes and a near collision.
I joined the pursuit in early April 2015 and what became immediately apparent was that this was more than just a story about a vigilante conservationist organization trying to bring a recalcitrant criminal ship to justice. It was also an attempt by this group of advocates to highlight the core problem facing the world’s oceans: a shocking lack of enforcement of what few laws even exist on the high seas.
The full story of the Thunder chase is found in “Storming the Thunder,” a chapter in The Outlaw Ocean.