The High Seas: Ahoy?

South of the Rat Islands, beneath the grey-green greasy Pacific swells off Alaska and close to the international date line that keeps Thursday from being Friday, an American submersible is missing. Shrouded in a fog bank, the S.S. Robert Louis Stevenson started on her first—and presumably last—underwater cruise on Aug. 10. Ever since, the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard have kept five search vessels and a gaggle of aircraft looking for the R.L.S. — to the intense interest of Russian trawlers in the area.

It is not that the Navy wants the R.L.S. back. It was trying its best...

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