Award-winning reporter and editor for Bloomberg Businessweek magazine, Matthew Campbell, and reporter for Bloomberg, Kit Chellel, joined Ian Punnett (Twitter) on Saturday's program to discuss their shocking exposé of the corrupt inner-workings of international shipping told through the lens of the hijacking of the Brillante Virtuoso and its aftermath, including the still-unsolved murder of the ship's surveyor, David Mockett. "The deeper we went into this, what happened to [the Brillante], and really the whole world of crime at sea, the stranger things got," Chellel said. Shipping is a largely unregulated and fragmented business, Campbell revealed. "It would be quite typical for a vessel... to be owned by an anonymous kind of brass plate shell company in the Cayman Islands," he explained, noting ships fly flags of convenience and their owners are often isolated by layers of corporate obfuscation. It's not difficult to forge shipping documents, Chellel added. All big vessels get their insurance through Lloyd's of London, Campbell continued, noting Lloyd's is an insurance market and not an insurance company.
The Brillante was an oil tanker carrying $100 million cargo of oil with a crew of 26 aboard. The ship failed to enter the Suez Canal and instead turned off its engines, turned on its running lights, and sat in the dead of night in pirate-infested waters off the Horn of Africa, Campbell reported. The captain told his crew they were to wait for a 3-member security team to arrive before proceeding, Chellel revealed. "Certainly what you don't want to do is sail into the middle of this area and wait which is what the Brillante did," he said. A boat did eventually arrive with seven people carrying guns, and they were allowed to come aboard by order of the captain. They immediately took command of the ship and locked the crew in the TV room, Chellel disclosed, adding the crew heard the engines turn on and then an explosion. It turns out the Brillante was damaged as part of an insurance fraud scheme that involved the seven-member group that had boarded the ship who were posing as pirates.
Church of Satan
On 3/12/2022 Ian hosted a show on Coast to Coast AM which delved into the history of Anton LaVey's Church of Satan. During the program, a woman named Dee, who has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, called in to discuss her time as a member. Ian welcomed Dee back on the air in the first hour to elaborate on her time with LaVey. "He wasn't what so many people... assumed he was probably like," Dee explained, noting when she first saw him he was playing piano at a local San Francisco bar. "He was a terrific piano player," she recalled. Dee revealed she first went to The Black House (LaVey's home and headquarters of the Church of Satan) for seminars taught by LaVey on fortune telling, graphology, and witchcraft. According to Dee, LaVey thought witches should look a certain way, like Kim Novak in Bell Book and Candle. "He believed that women should use their sexuality because it was powerful," she said, adding "everything was very optical [for LaVey]." Dee claimed to be a member of LaVey's inner circle for a brief time until she moved away for college.