A Red Star Rises on the High Seas

Soviet merchant ships are undercutting world markets

Bikini-clad women sipping vodka on an ocean liner in the Caribbean. Crates of computers being unloaded in Hong Kong harbor. A cruise ship offering three- month tours with elegant accommodations. These are not the images people conjure up when they think of the Soviet menace. But the Soviet Union's fleet of about 2,500 merchant ships, now the world's sixth largest, has been invading both cargo and cruise markets around the world, underbidding competitors by 40% and more. In the past two decades, the Soviet Union has doubled the number of its ships and tripled the tonnage of its fleet. Meanwhile, the...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!