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People smugglers keep trying to recruit this boat captain. He keeps refusing

Pape Dieye in Guet N'dar, Senegal on October 7.
Ricci Shryock for NPR
Pape Dieye in Guet N'dar, Senegal on October 7.

Years of captaining a boat on the Atlantic Ocean have shaped Pape Dieye's calm and reassuring presence.

He is unafraid of aggressive, mountain-like waves. He doesn't need GPS. He can steer a boat in the dark of the night using nothing but the moon and the stars. He can tell how deep the water is simply by its color.

His experience has turned him into a highly sought after captain in Senegal's underground business of taking migrants to Europe by boat.

Many people have begged him, but he tells NPR why he always refuses.

Listen to our full report by clicking or tapping the play button above.

Mallika Seshadri contributed to this report. contributed to this story

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Ari Shapiro has been one of the hosts of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine, since 2015. During his first two years on the program, listenership to All Things Considered grew at an unprecedented rate, with more people tuning in during a typical quarter-hour than any other program on the radio.
Ayen Deng Bior is a producer at NPR's flagship evening news program, All Things Considered. She helps shape the sound of the daily shows by contributing story ideas, writing scripts and cutting tape. Her work at NPR has taken her to Warsaw, Poland, where she heard from refugees displaced by the war in Ukraine. She has spoken to people in Saint-Louis, Senegal, who are grappling with rising seas. Before NPR, Bior wore many hats at the Voice of America's English to Africa service where she worked in radio, television and digital. Bior began her career reporting on the revolution in Sudan, the developing state of affairs in South Sudan and the experiences of women behind the headlines in both countries. In her spare time, Bior loves to kayak, read and bird watch.
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[Copyright 2024 NPR]
Ricci Shryock