Pirates, Hijackings, And High Seas Murder Cases – These Are All Part Of A Days Work For This Maritime Detective

Source: Hakai Magazine/Sarah Tory 

Photo: AU-UN IST Photo/Stuart Price


Karsten von Hoesslin, an academic-turned-detective and the founder of Remote Operations Agency, works with governments and agencies around the world, responding to high-stakes maritime crises.

There’s a saying that goes, “If you want to kill someone, just do it at sea,” and that phenomenon has always fascinated me. My job is to respond to hijacking and hostage cases at sea, from locating stolen ships and figuring out who’s behind the crime, to recovering the crew and coordinating ransom payments. A few years ago, I started private detective work. Most people in my field come from a military or police background, but I came to it from the academic side. For my master’s degree, I studied the Law of the Sea—a United Nations treaty that attempts to govern the world’s oceans—focusing on territorial disputes in the South China Sea. I shifted to human intelligence for my PhD research, looking at how to infiltrate organized crime networks. After that I started liaising with agencies like coast guards and Interpol, and learning other skills like behavioral profiling, hostage negotiation, and paramedicine.

The most stressful case was the 2012 MT Smyrni hijacking, which holds the world record for the highest ransom ever paid to Somali pirates. The Greek-owned oil tanker was hijacked in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Oman carrying 135,000 tonnes of oil. All 26 crew were taken hostage.

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Photo: AU-UN IST Photo/Stuart Price

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