‘We’re used to seeing overcrowded vessels from Africa washing up on the shores of Europe. But here was one that had travelled the other way’

I came across this ship in 2014, a few months into a long, slow journey I was making from Nigeria to Italy. It was a Japanese fishing trawler, and it had washed up on the shores of Nouakchott, on the west coast of Africa, having developed engine trouble.

It was almost sunset – the cinematic hour. The sky was warm and the scene was just so inviting. But I knew this golden moment was transitory, as I had been coming to the wreck again and again at different times, noticing how the light changed with each visit, and how many other people were visiting it. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do with it.

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