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A life lost at sea reveals plight of modern mariners

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New York Times journalist Ian Urbina was surprised to learn that about a quarter of the world’s seafarers hail from the Philippines. When he wanted to investigate the illegal practices of maritime staffing companies, this statistic made the small nation a natural place to start. But Urbina not only found illegal activity, he found the tragic story of Eril Andrade, a man who lost his life at sea.

After signing up for work with the Step Up “manning agency,” Eril Andrade had to endure horrific living conditions, all while never receiving the money he was promised by the company that hired him. Andrade would not make it home to the Philippines alive. His body came back maimed, one of his eyes and his pancreas missing. Not all who sign up to work for illegal manning agencies lose their lives, but Urbina says there is a large issue with workers losing their money and their pride, and even coming home in debt.

Andrade’s story is just the latest in Urbina’s ongoing series for the New York Times called “The Outlaw Ocean, ” which Urbina spoke to Marketplace’s Molly Wood about. 

Click the above audio player to hear the full interview. 

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