Great Britain: The Idle Fleet

Britain's life line is its merchant navy. Last week the life line snapped. For the first time in 55 years, Britain's seamen went out on strike.

It would take at least three weeks for all of Britain's 2,500 merchant ships, the world's largest trading fleet, to return to British ports (British seamen are prohibited by law from striking their ship in a foreign port or at sea). But already at least 500 ships and 12,000 of Britain's 65,000 seamen were idled, and the strike was having severe effects on Britain's economy. Despite Prime Minister Harold Wilson's warnings, some grocers hiked food...

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