Stolen Seas


The filmmakers have spent the past three years traveling to some of the world’s most violent locales in order to make this documentary on Somali piracy, Stolen Seas. Utilizing exclusive interviews and unparalleled access to real pirates, hostages, hostages’ relatives, ship-owners, pirate negotiators and experts on piracy and international policy, Stolen Seas presents a chilling exploration of the Somali pirate phenomenon.

The film throws the viewer, through audio recordings and found video, right into the middle of the real-life hostage negotiation of a Danish shipping vessel, the CEC Future. As the haggling between the ship’s stoic owner Per Gullestrup, and the pirate’s loquacious negotiator, Ishmael Ali, drags on for 70 days, these two adversaries’ relationship takes an unexpected turn and an unlikely friendship is born.

Stolen Seas is an eye opening refutation of preconceived ideas on how or why piracy has become the world’s most frightening multi-million dollar growth industry.


Thymaya Payne is a graduate of the University of Chicago ’99, and the American Film Institute ’06. He has directed a number of films including, the short films “Apparent Horizon,” Let’s Not and say We Did,” “Coup De Grace,” and feature film “Love Limits.” He splits his time between Los Angeles and New York. For more visit:

Check out this interview with him on KMIR6



Support Some Organizations Doing Great Work in the Region:


Long term investment:

  • Shuraako ( –  Helps investors work with the Somali community to find investment opportunities.


  • S.A.F.E (,- a Somali born American who runs an initiative to build schools with local labor and partnerships within the Somali government.
  • Somali Fair Fishing ( - A non-profit group started by Per Gullestrup, the former CEO of a Danish shipping company whose ship the CEC Future was held by Somali pirates and was also the subject of my documentary, Stolen Seas. This group aims to develop the fishing industry in Somalia to help prevent fishermen from turning into the very pirates that attacked their ships.