Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

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

A Somali pirate in Stolen Seas

2.5 out of 4 stars

Stolen Seas
Written by
Mark Monroe
Directed by
Thymaya Payne

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.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct Licensing Options
As of December 20, 2017, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles as we switch to a new provider. We are behind schedule, but we are still working hard to bring you a new commenting system as soon as possible. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to