Appearing as if from vapor, a band of Somali pirates armed with bazookas suddenly roars toward the CEC Future, a Danish ship plying the perilous Gulf of Aden. The ship's captain radios for help, and a German pilot picks up the distress call. He tells the captain to hang on. "Five minutes," the pilot radios. "We'll be there in five minutes." By then, the ship is overrun with pirates, its captain and crew taken hostage.
Thus unfolds Stolen Seas, the riveting documentary by Thymaya Payne, which had its Washington debut at the West End Cinema on January 30th. Payne's film explores the resurgence of piracy on the high seas, and the unusual relationship that develops between Pers Gullestrup, CEO of the Danish company and Ishmael Ali, the Somali who negotiates on behalf of the pirates.
Following the screening, 100Reporters hosted a brief panel discussion and audience Q&A featuring Matthew Peed, an attorney representing a Somali accused of piracy in U.S. court, Martin Murphy, an expert on piracy and author of several books. Donations accepted, with fun thank you gifts on hand, and Urmila Venugopalan, the South Asia Lead for the Oceans Beyond Piracy Program at One Earth Future.