Shipping: We're Going to Get You

Shipping can be a hard-knuckled business, but never had the Australian Tonnage Committee, a group of 15 shipping companies involved in Europe-Australia trade, heard such a barefisted challenge. Dropping in at the committee's London office recently, N. I. ("Nicky") Zuev, vice president of the Soviet Union's ship-chartering agency Sovfracht, was in a vile mood. He complained that the committee, which is made up of shipping operators from eight countries, had unfairly treated the Russians, then warned: "Now we're going to get you."

With that salvo, the Soviets last month launched their latest assault on what has long been pretty much a...