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The Colombo Bay

When I woke up in Hong Kong on 9/11, my first thought was to abandon the book I had come to write and get home to my family in New York City as soon as possible. But after some agonizing I decided to stay the course I had originally set. Two days later I boarded the Colombo Bay, a 60,000-ton container ship, for a five-week journey half-way around the world. The book traces the mammoth ship's voyage at this terror-stricken time.

The New York Times Book Review calls The Colombo Bay "pulse-quickening [and] ingenious . . . an original portrait . . . meticulously researched." To read the full review, click here.


"To the ranks of seafaring literature, we may gratefully add The Columbo Bay, an engrossing account by Richard Pollak of his global circumnavigation on a modern container ship. And to the traditional perils of sea crossings--piracy, tropical storms, running aground--we may now add global terrorism. Those who venture with Pollak on this remarkable journey will gain a new appreciation for the importance of the world's sea lanes, and the people and ships that populate them." --James B. Stewart, author of Heart of a Soldier and Den of Thieves.

The book is "a maritime masterpiece that both industry insiders and the general public will enjoy . . . .[Pollak] writes brilliantly. Do yourself a favor and get this book." -- Shipping Digest

"[A]n exceptional piece of literary journalism," one whose "technical descriptions and analysis . . . rival the best of John McPhee. . . . this book has the chance to become a sleeper hit, aided by Pollak's terrific writing." -- Publishers Weekly

"[F]ascinating, [a book that] makes you realize that those who go down to the sea in container ships do so on seas increasingly full of perils." -- The Los Angeles Times

"Pollak's synthesis is masterly, both informed and courageously insightful. Not many people in the business would or could 'tell it like it is' with such candor and acumen." -- American Shipper

"[A]n engrossing view of the vital, dangerous, vulnerable business of ocean transport." -- Seattle Times

Pollak is "a true maritime yarn-spinner. . . . [The book]deserves to draw readers from far beyond the ranks of maritime buffs." -- Booklist,

"Don't think you want to read a book about shipping?" writes Steven Brill, author of After. "Well, how about a Jules Verne-like tale of a journey across the world that begins the day after September 11 and makes issues like globalization, international trade, and port security come alive in a deeply personal, poignant narrative crafted by a truly gifted writer.”