IAmA ship captain/author/lawyer/pilot named Max Hardberger. I steal ships back from pirates. Ask me anything!
Oct 5th 2014 by MaxHardberger • 27 Questions • 501 Points
Hello, reddit! After making the front page of TIL the other day, there were many who requested that I do an AMA, so here I am! If you want to know a bit about me, here is a short bio:
Max Hardberger received his MFA in Fiction and Poetry from the University of Iowa before working a series of odd jobs including: English teacher, crop-duster, newspaper reporter, private investigator, and oilfield "Mud Engineer" in Guatemala during the Guatemalan Civil War. He currently works as a maritime lawyer, novelist, and vessel repossession specialist. In other words, he steals ships back that have been corruptly seized and hidden in seedy ports around the world and then returns them to their rightful owners. Max has been featured in interviews, articles, and book reviews by The Guardian, BBC News, Fox News, Men's Journal, NPR, and the Los Angeles Times. He has also had two separate television specials air about his exploits on The Learning Channel and American Heroes Channel.
If you are interested in reading more of my exploits, please download a kindle copy of my book, Seized.
OK, everybody, let's shut it down for tonight. I'll check in tomorrow morning. Thanks for the great questions.
Stealing ships from pirates sounds very dangerous, where do I apply?
If you have sea experience--preferably as an officer--please send your resume to the proper link at our website, www.vesselextractions.com.
The problem of pirates shifts continually, but never goes away. The Indian Ocean is relatively quiet now, but piracy is a growing problem on the West Coast of Africa.
Your short bio mentioned that you steal back ships from "seedy ports" around the world , could you give an example of one ?
Probably the seediest is Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Do you regret majoring in fiction and poetry? I plan to major in English(emphasis on creative writing), but my family wants me to major in something more useful, as they put it. A lot of this has to do with my switch from wanting to be a veterinarian to a writer(I realized veterinary medicine wasn't for me). Thanks.
Well, to be honest, I was having too much fun in Iowa City during those heady days of the early 70's to worry too much about writing, which is something I'd been doing from pubescence and continued doing regardless of the degree. But I am certain that creative writing is a science like any other--I've taught it as a science--and a good writers' workshop could be valuable. But I wouldn't do it as a career choice without a day job backup.
Spending a lot of your time on the sea and ocean, have you ever witnessed UFO's in the sky or has your compass ever started spinning due to a magnetic field?
You see a lot of very strange things out at sea, some of them without obvious explanation, but I haven't ever seen something that I didn't think had an earthly explanation. I've had compass anomalies in aircraft but I don't remember ever experiencing one in a ship.