March 30, 2018

Colloquium Speaker: Max Hardberger


Max Hardberger has been a maritime attorney, marine surveyor, commercial pilot, flight instructor, private investigator, and oilfield mud technician. He’s the author of the memoirs Freighter Captain (Pioneer Press, 1994) and Seized: A Ship Captain’s Adventures Battling Pirates and Scoundrels in the World’s Most Troubled Waters (Broadway Books, 2010), and has been a writer for WorkBoat Magazine since 1994.




Colloquium Topic: Under a False Flag: how smugglers, terrorists, and thieves use vessels under flags of convenience to further and conceal illicit activity

Since Liberia started the world's first “flag of convenience” shortly after World War II, the business has grown exponentially. Today, the vast majority of all ocean cargo is carried on ships flagged to Liberia (first in tonnage), Panama (first in number of ships), Honduras, Djibouti, Cambodia, and even land-locked Bolivia. In this lucrative and competitive business, the pressure is always on the flag state to relax oversight and regulation; combined with the inherent lawlessness of the open ocean, this provides a physical and regulatory environment in which rogue states, terrorists and other international criminals can thrive. The presentation includes ways that investigators can "pierce the veil" of ship ownership; identify, track and locate ships and cargoes; and identify post facto the various actors in a given or target shipment.