TRAVEL: Loaded to the Gunwales

As the U.S. Maritime Commission's Marine Flasher docked in New York last week, some 300 passengers emerged sizzling. They promptly fired off a petition charging that the ship was, in effect, a floating flophouse. Yet the Maritime Commission made no move to withdraw the Marine Flasher or six similar troop-type ships from Atlantic passenger service. It knew that its ships were substandard but it kept them operating only because transatlantic ship space is so scarce.

The biggest cause of the jam, naturally, is a shortage of liners. Only 13 are now in...

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