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A Somali pirate in Stolen Seas
A Somali pirate in Stolen Seas

film review

Stolen Seas: Everything you ever wanted to know about Somali piracy Add to ...

  • Directed by Thymaya Payne
  • Written by Mark Monroe
  • Classification 14A
  • Genre documentary
  • Year 2012
  • Country U.K.
  • Language English

The hijacking of Danish cargo ship CEC Future in late November 2008 is the prism through which U.S. director Payne and his scriptwriter Mark Monroe explore the spectrum of circumstances underpinning Somali piracy. Carrying steel to Indonesia, the CEC Future was seized in the Gulf of Aden, its crew of 13 held for 71 days in a Somali Indian Ocean port before a $1.7-million ransom was paid. Three years in the making, Stolen Seas can’t be faulted for its thoroughness as it mixes documentary footage, recreations and audio recordings with a plethora of talking heads (too many, in fact) to present a nuanced examination of the issues. Foremost among the interviewees are Ishmael Ali, the Somali businessman who functioned as the pirates’ translator/negotiator in ransom talks (the original amount asked was $7-million), and Per Gullestrup, the straight-talking CEO of the Danish shipping company. The documentary posits the piracy phenomenon less as anarchic criminality than as logical outcome – an ecosystem of sorts – of the globalized world economy.