July 30, 2019
An engrossing and impactful documentary about Thai human-rights activist Patima Tungpuchayakul as she and her team attempt to rescue the enslaved fishermen forced to work the southeast Asian seas.
Tuesday, July 30, 2019
In port cities like Seattle back in the 1800s, men were "Shanghaied" out of bars and opium dens and forced to work on ships to meet the increased demand for crew. You might think of that as a footnote to history. You would be wrong. The multibillion-dollar Thai seafood industry has destroyed local ecosystems and pushed commercial fishing thousands of miles offshore, but beyond the environmental crisis is a humanitarian one: A severe labor shortage has led to the abduction and slave labor of thousands upon thousands of people. Many of them go for years without seeing land. However, there is a beacon of hope; Patima Tungpuchayakul kept hearing stories of stranded men who've escaped these boats, so she created an organization that not only helps them reunite with their families, but also charters trips to search for missing people. Not all of them want to come home; many were dumped in foreign lands with no identification and no hope, so they start new families. Beautifully shot, poetic recreations underlie some of the film's horrific stories, which only draw you in deeper. Despite the harrowing subject, Ghost Fleet is ultimately a hopeful, inspirational story of somebody making a difference in the world.
- Director: Shannon Service, Jeffrey Waldron
- Principal Cast: Tun Lin, Patima Tungpuchayakul
- Country: USA
- Year: 2018
- Running Time: 90 minutes
- Producer: Jon Bowermaster, Shannon Service
- Cinematographers: Basil Childers, Lucas Gath, Jeffrey Waldron, Alejandro Wilkins
- Language: Khmer, Thai, English
- Has Subtitles: Yes