HC Deb 21 January 1947 vol 432 cc25-6W
Sir G. Fox

asked the Minister of Transport when representations were Made by the Colonial Office to his Department for inquiry into complaints about conditions on the "Empire Deben"; the date of the inquiry; the number of cases of typhoid originally contracted on the ship on the outward journey; the number who died; and, in view of the fact that passengers on this ship on the homeward journey have also contracted typhoid, what action has been taken and against whom.

Mr. Barnes

First information that cases of typhoid had occurred among passengers disembarked from the "Empire Deben" in Nigeria was received from my representative in Nigeria while the ship was on passage home and the port health authorities were requested to investigate the matter on the vessel's arrival at Liverpool on 21st September. The matter was also brought later to my attention by the Colonial Office on representation from the Nigerian authorities. There was no sickness diagnosed as typhoid on the outward journey, but seven cases were reported among passen- gers after disembarkation in West Africa. I regret to say two of these were fatal. There were three cases of suspected malaria amongst the crew on the homeward journey which were later diagnosed in hospital at Liverpool as typhoid. One passenger also developed typhoid after disembarkation at Liverpool. Every possible step has been taken, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, to trace the source of the infection and the matter is being energetically pursued so that appropriate action can be taken.