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Norwegian Tanker (British Stowaways)

Volume 498: debated on Wednesday 9 April 1952

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if his attention has been drawn to the fact that Robert Mensa, 16 years of age, of the Gold Coast, and Pijan Rahum, of Freetown, both British subjects, were put ashore by the captain of a Norwegian tanker in a desolate spot on the Spanish north-west African coast; and what steps he proposes to take to protect British subjects against a repetition of such treatment.

Yes. A report received from Her Majesty's Consul at Teneriffe confirms the regrettable facts given by the hon. Member. However, a Spanish trawler was fortunately present when these men were being landed from the Norwegian tanker "Jaspis" on which they had stowed away. The trawler took the men on board and landed them in good health at Las Palmas on 27th March. The men have since been repatriated by the British Consul.Her Majesty's Ambassador at Oslo has informed me that inquiries are being made by the Norwegian authorities at the port of registry of the "Jaspis," the results of which will be communicated to the Norwegian Minister of Justice. The Minister will then decide whether or not to proceed against the master.I am informed that the findings of the inquiry will be made available to Her Majesty's Ambassador in the very near future. When I have received his report I will decide what action is called for.