Hello. It looks like you’re using an ad blocker that may prevent our website from working properly. To receive the best Tortoise experience possible, please make sure any blockers are switched off and refresh the page.

If you have any questions or need help, let us know at memberhelp@tortoisemedia.com

Tortoise Media’s new offices in Berners Street, London. 13/9/20. Photo Tom Pilston.
This week in Tortoise: Lost at sea

This week in Tortoise: Lost at sea

Tortoise Media’s new offices in Berners Street, London. 13/9/20. Photo Tom Pilston.

What makes a 12,000-tonne ship sail directly into a typhoon? And not an abandoned ship, either: this one had 43 crew aboard and nearly 6,000 cows. It was called the Gulf Livestock 1. And it sank into the Pacific Ocean, with the loss of almost all life, while journeying from New Zealand to China last autumn.

In this week’s episode of the Slow Newscast – Lost at sea – Basia Cummings goes in search of answers. She speaks to the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Ian Urbina and to a friend of one of the Gulf Livestock 1’s lost crewmen, and discovers an entire industry shrouded in mystery, rife with exploitation, and suffering from official neglect. Almost 1,000 large vessels have sunk over the past decade, a terrible toll that barely anyone cares to notice.

And as for those answers? Large ships have been fitted with the equivalents of black boxes since the early 2000s, but no one – no national government – has launched an attempt to recover the one on Gulf Livestock 1. It is, in a very literal sense, an ocean-going scandal. Please do give the podcast a listen.

In this evening’s ThinkIn, at 6.30pm, we return to one of Tortoise’s previous lines of investigation – sexual abuse at universities – as we ask: are women safe on campus?

On Tuesday, we look into one of the Treasury’s flagship pandemic policies: how much money has been wasted on Bounce Back Loans? On Wednesday, we turn our attention to another set of policymakers, or at least policy-influencers: have the scientists failed Britain?

And on Thursday, we welcome Tracey Thorn, one half of Everything but the Girl, to our virtual newsroom to discuss what it meant to be a woman in the music industry in the 1980s and 90s.

Of course, we hope to see you at one of our ThinkIns. And I hope, too, that you enjoyed the episodes of The Battle for Truth that we released in the Tortoise app last week. The series will start its life outside the app – in all popular podcast players – this week, so please encourage your friends to listen and subscribe.


James Harding,
Editor & co-founder