I finished William Langewiesche's book last night. Subtitled "A World of Freedom, Chaos and Crime", the book is divided into six chapters, but boils down to "the ocean is big, and it's hard to enforce any laws out there."
I did like reading it, don't get me wrong, but it's kind of a collection of essays (to be expected of an Atlantic Monthly contributor), rather than a tightly themed book. He covers the anarchistic world of 'flags of convenience', where countries supply ship registries to any corporation that can pay, shielding owners from laws and regulations in their own countries.
He shares stories of at least three shipwrecks in massive storms, one in excruciatingly reconstructed detail. And he tells us about the abysmal conditions of the shipbreaking yards in India. I learned a lot, but would have preferred a bit more thematic unity.