The World: Hell on the River

"You can't slow down," said Si Chung Lo, 37, a short and dapper freighter captain from Hong Kong. "You're inviting them to shoot."

Lo had just brought his shell-scarred Lucky Star to the dock in Phnom-Penh last week−the 3,500-ton lead ship in a convoy that had to run a gauntlet of Communist gunfire to reach the encircled Cambodian capital. Normally, such ships−manned by Chinese crews that get large, unspecified war bonuses to do the work−set out every ten days from the South Vietnamese port of Vung Tau with cargoes of machinery, machine parts and...

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