Deadly Cargo

As it headed for port through the midwinter dusk, there was little about the M.V. Mecca that stood out from the other boats plying the waters off southern Bangladesh. Portworkers and fishermen noted the same squat deckhouse and plump hold that for centuries have sheltered fishermen from the cyclones of the Bay of Bengal. The Mecca had the usual rusted rigging and smoke-blackened stern. And the crew too was like most others working off Chittagong: pure Rohingyas—stocky Muslim refugees from western Burma. Only the thick salt marks high on the Mecca's bow hinted that it was ending a voyage longer than...

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