May 11, 2021

A Quest to Expose the World’s Most Dangerous Frontier

Journalist Ian Urbina aboard the Indonesian patrol ship Macan in the South China Sea (Photo: Fábio Nascimento/The Outlaw Ocean Project)
Journalist Ian Urbina aboard the Indonesian patrol ship Macan in the South China Sea

Investigative journalist Ian Urbina had a bold plan: he would journey to the unpatrolled waters of the open ocean and bring back stories about the last regions on the planet where laws have almost no power. Over three years, he traveled some 12,000 nautical miles and reported on the traffickers, pirates, poachers, and other clandestine characters who operate outside the reach of authorities. His resulting chronicle became a bestselling book, The Outlaw Ocean, but that only spurred Urbina to go farther. Now his mission is taking him in a surprisingly creative direction: partnering with popular musical artists, he's producing songs that push his stories out to a much wider audience.

This episode of the Outside Podcast is brought to you by the all-new 2021 Ford Bronco Sport, a 4x4 SUV with seven available G.O.A.T. modes that enable it to go over any type of terrain. Learn more at

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Outside’s longstanding literary storytelling tradition comes to life in audio with features that will both entertain and inform listeners. We launched in March 2016 with our first series, Science of Survival, which was developed in partnership with PRX, distributors of the idolized This American Life and The Moth Radio Hour, among others. We have since expanded our show and now offer a range of story formats, including interviews with the biggest figures in sports, adventure, and politics, as well as reports from our correspondents in the field.