§ Mr. Prescott
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what damage was sustained by the British vessel "London Statesman" arising out of an explosion off Saigon, Vietnam, or injury to her crew; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Noble
I understand that the "London Statesman" was extensively damaged and partially sunk by two separate explosions in the early hours of 10th July (local time) whilst in Nha Trang Lightering Harbour, South Vietnam. The first explosion holed the engine room, and the second the number five hold. The stern of the ship has settled on the bottom of the shallow harbour, in about 36 feet of water. The cause of the explosions is not yet known, but the local authorities are conducting inquiries into this. I will consider, when the result is known, whether any inquiry under the Merchant Shipping Act, 1894, is necessary. I understand that all the officers and crew are safe, and uninjured, and that their next of kin have been so informed.