There are 40,000 freighters on the seas. Between them they carry 80% of the world's trade and 90% of its energy. Nearly everything we eat, wear and work with has spent some time on a ship. And yet this massive global industry has remained largely unexamined: it passes by out of sight of most of us and, through the 'flags of convenience' system, its dubious practices often slip under the radar of regulators. In this unique investigation, Rose George has travelled the high seas with their powerful naval fleets, pirate gangs, and illegal floating factories, as well as visiting the ports and their land-bound dockworkers, tycoons, missionaries, stevedores, border control guards, and ship-spotters. She will meet the beachcombers who track the 10,000 containers that are lost every year, the robots who are gradually replacing human crews, and the environmentalists campaigning to resist the tide of marine pollution. Intrepid, informed and tenacious, George steers a sure course through the murky, character-rich waters of international shipping.