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US shipper alters course on saving boat people

The American-owned Sea Containers Inc. said it is changing its policy on Vietnamese boat people encountered by its ships on the high seas. In the future , the company will pick up boat people whose lives appear in danger; otherwise, refugees will merely be given assistace and left at sea.

The change of policy marks a protest against what the company feels is lack of support from governments for ships that pick up refugees and then have difficulty finding a home for them. The company said it faced the possible loss of its Bermuda registry after one of its ships registered in Bermuda picked up 85 refugees in the South China Sea last May.

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