99% Invisible

441- Abandoned Ships

Episode Summary

As the number of cargo ships has increased, so has a problem: workers stuck on ships that have been completely abandoned by the owners, leaving them stranded out at sea without basic supplies like food.

Episode Notes

If you look around you right now, about 90% of what you’re looking at came to you onboard a cargo ship—your television, your sofa, most of the stuff in your kitchen. But as the number of these cargo ships has increased, so has a problem: workers stuck on ships that have been completely abandoned by the owners, leaving them stranded out at sea without basic supplies like food. In some cases, seafarers (that's the industry term for cargo ship workers) have been stuck on these abandoned vessels without enough supplies for months, or even years.

Abandoned Ships

This episode was produced in collaboration with the podcast Kerning Cultures, a podcast that makes audio stories - like this one - from the Middle East and North Africa.