Catching Thunder

The Story of the World’s Longest Sea Chase

Eskil Engdal and Kjetil Sæter

Catching Thunder

Eskil Engdal and Kjetil Sæter

Distributed for Zed Books

Translated by Diane Oatley
400 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2018
Paper $21.95 ISBN: 9781786990877 Published March 2018 For sale in North and South America, Australia, and New Zealand only
December, 2014: In the forbidding waters off Antarctica, Captain Hammarstedt of the Bob Barker embarks on a voyage unlike any seen before. Across ten thousand miles of hazardous seas, Hammarstedt’s crew will relentlessly pursue the Thunder—an infamous illegal fishing ship—for what will become the longest chase in maritime history.
 
Wanted by Interpol, the Thunder has for years evaded justice: accumulating millions in profits, hunting endangered species and ruthlessly destroying ocean habitats. The authors follow this incredible expedition from the beginning. But even as seasoned journalists, they cannot anticipate what the chase will uncover, as the wake of the Thunder leads them to trail of criminal kingpins, rampant corruption, modern slavery, and an international community content to turn a blind eye. Very soon, apprehending Thunder becomes more than a chase but a pursuit of the truth itself and a symbolic race to preserve the well-being of our planet. A Scandinavian best-seller, Catching Thunder is a remarkable true story of courage and perseverance, and a wake-up call to act against the destruction of our environments.
Contents
1 The Pirate
2 “The Bandit 6”
3 Operation Icefish
4 The Occupation
5 Hot Pursuit
6 Operation Spillway
7 The Ice
8 Vesturvon
9 The Pirate Capital
10 The Storm
11 The Secret Channel
12 The Longest Day
13 The Shipmaster
14 Desolation Island
15 The Phantom Ship
16 The Wall of Death
17 The World Record
18 “The Only Sheriff in Town”
19 The Flying Mariner
20 A Bloody Nightmare
21 La Mafia Gallega
22 God’s Fingerprint
23 Buenas Tardes, Bob Barker
24 Message in a Bottle
25 Raid on the High Seas
26 Operation Sparrow
27 Exercise Good Hope
28 The Bird of Ill Omen
29 The Wanderer
30 The Man in the Arena
31 The Third Ship
32 “You Are Nothing”
33 The Snake in Paradise
34 The Armpit of Africa
35 Mayday
36 A Weird Dream
37 A Last Resort
38 The Island of Rumours
39 48 Hours
40 Three Condemned Men
41 The Luck of the Draw
42 The Escape
43 The Unluckiest Ship in the World
44 The Judgment
45 Prisoners’ Island
46 The Man From Mongolia
47 The Last Viking
48 Operation Yuyus
49 The Tiantai Mystery
50 A Dirty Business
51 The Showdown
52 The Madonna and the Octopus
53 The Final Act
 
Acknowledgements
Notes
 
Review Quotes
Foreword Reviews
“Delivers a true story that reads like a spy novel, peppered with scary organized crime villains, charismatic environmental activists and Interpol agents, and enough tidbits about sailing treacherous seas, commercial fishing, and endangered species to satisfy the most dedicated nautical adventure fan.”
Starred Review | Library Journal
“This is long-form investigative journalism at its finest. A riveting and thorough account of how complicated crime syndicates maneuver through murky globalized channels and how multilateral efforts by law enforcement agencies worldwide attempt to distribute justice.”
Spectator
“An uproarious adventure. . . . The book’s short chapters read like urgent frontline bulletins.”
National Geographic Traveller
“A clarion call for those who want to save our seas.”
Post Magazine
Catching Thunder is about more than just the pursuit of one ship, however. Its main focus is the years-long efforts to track these vessels and their mysterious owners on both sea and land. Beyond attempts to bring the ships’ owners to justice, the book explores the challenges involved in trying to police international waters far from populated areas.”
Sydney Morning Herald
“This is a modern pirate story, but the plunder isn't pieces of eight—it's the Patagonian Toothfish, as valuable as narcotics. The pirate ship, the eponymous Thunder, was one of a number specialising in the illegal, million-dollar trawling of endangered species.”
Maritime Executive
“A sensational new book.”
South China Morning Post
“The authors take readers on a journey as they seek to come face-to-face with those profiting from poaching, and realize the challenges involved in bringing them to justice. . . . Engdal and Sæter track down players on both sides, telling the story from all angles. We get the experiences of the environmental­ists, the officers on the fishing vessels, the Indonesian crews, and even of those involved in the operations on land.”
Luke Harding, Guardian journalist and author of The Snowden Files
“Engdal and Sæter are to journalism what Jagger and Richards are to rock and roll—sexy, irreverent, and brilliant.”
Tony Long, CEO, Global Fishing Watch
“The pursuit of the Thunder has become celebrated folklore by those of us fighting to protect our oceans. This is a captivating story, one which highlights the weaknesses in the global system but also, ultimately, gives us hope.”
Peter Heller, author of The Whale Warriors and Celine
“This is the story of our time: the blind destruction of the oceans and our ecosphere, and the actions of those with the courage to stand up and confront it.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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