The Outlaw Ocean # Vocabulary

There are seventeen words that have been highlighted in the passage; meanings of which are given in the end. Mark yourself off 17 and find out how good you are in vocabulary.


CHIOS, Greece — The rickety raft made of empty oil drums and a wooden tabletop rolled and pitched with the waves while tied to the side of the Dona Liberta, a 370-foot cargo ship anchored far from land in the Atlantic Ocean off West Africa.
“Go down!” yelled a knife-wielding crew member, forcing two Tanzanian stowaways overboard and onto the raft. As angry clouds gathered on the horizon, he cut the line.
Gambling on a better life, the stowaways had run out of luck. They had already spent nine days at sea, most of the time hiding in the Dona Liberta’s engine room, crouched deep in oily water. But as they climbed down onto the slick raft, the men, neither of whom knew how to swim, nearly slid into the ocean before lashing themselves together to the raft with a rope.
As the Dona Liberta slowly disappeared, David George Mndolwa, one of the abandoned pair, recalled thinking: “This is the end.”
Few places on the planet are as lawless as the high seas, where egregious crimes are routinely committed with impunity. Though the global economy is ever more dependent on a fleet of more than four million fishing and small cargo vessels and 100,000 large merchant ships that haul about 90 percent of the world’s goods, today’s maritime laws have hardly more teeth than they did centuries ago when history’s great empires first explored the oceans’ farthest reaches.
Murders regularly occur offshore — thousands of seafarers, fishermen or sea migrants die under suspicious circumstances annually, maritime officials say — but culprits are rarely held accountable. No one is required to report violent crimes committed in international waters.
the passage has been taken from “The New York Times”.

Vocabulary Used

Vocabulary Used


Rickety means not strong or well made and is likely to break. “the rickety raft made of oil drum” means that the raft is not very strong and is made of oil drums.
Raft, here, refers to a flat structure made of woods tied together and used as a boat or a floating platform.(definition by Oxford).
pitched has many meaning to it, but here it means , the movement of ship up and down in the water. “wooden top pitched with the waves” means the wooden top is moving up and down as along with waves.
Anchored means to let an anchor down from a boat or a ship in order to prevent it from moving.” , a 370-foot cargo ship anchored far from land in the Atlantic Ocean off West Africa.” Here it means that the ship is tied with chains in Atlantic ocean preventing its movement.
Stowaway is a person who hides in a ship or a plane before it leaves so as to travel without paying money. ” forcing two Tanzanian stowaways overboard” means the Tanzanians who were travelling without paying were pushed overboard.
Overboard means over the side of the boat or a ship onto the water. “ forcing two Tanzanian stowaways overboard into the raft” means that the Tanzanians were thrown from the side of the boat and they fell off on the raft.
Gambling is an activity of playing a game of chances for either money or any other object. “Gambling on a better life” means they were taking chances so as to improve their lives.
Crouched means to put your body close to the ground by bending your legs. “Crouched deep in oily water” means that the Tanzanians were hiding in the oily water.
Slick refers to something smooth or difficult to hold on i.e. slipper. “Climbed down onto the slick raft” means that the raft is slippery.
Slid means to pass or fall gradually into a specified state, character, practice, etc. “nearly slid into the ocean” means they were very close to falling into the sea.
Lashing has many meanings; the one used here means, a rope used to fasten something tightly to something else. “into the ocean before lashing themselves together to the raft” means they tied them to the raft with the rope.
Egregious means extremely bad. So, “egregious crimes” mean extremely bad crimes.
If a person does something bad with impunity, they do not get punished for what they have done.” Crime are committed with impunity” means that the people who commit the crime are not penalized for it.
Haul, here, means to cart or to carry. “100,000 large merchant ships that haul about 90 percent of the world’s goods” means that they carry about 90% of the world’s good.
Maritime means related to sea. So , maritime laws means laws related to sea.
Seafarer means a traveler or sailor of the sea.
Suspicious is a feeling that someone has done something wrong or illegal. “they die under suspicious circumstances” means that the way they die you feel as if something is wrong.
A culprit is a person who has done something wrong or against the law.


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