Ships visiting the Manchester Ship Canal and going through Salford are floating germ hazards, according to a new report by Manchester Port Health Authority (MPHA).
During the period May to July this year 284 non-passenger ships arrived on the Canal and 131 were inspected and tested for sanitation by MPHA officers. Two of the ships were deemed to have "extremely poor standards on board, requiring significant improvement", and 47 ships "required further action to be taken in order to meet the required standard".
165 legionella samples were taken from 57 ships, and 77% of the samples were
"unsatisfactory due to the presence of legionella bacteria and required a full system review", the report states. Legionella bacteria, it adds, "are the cause of legionellosis including legionnaires' disease which can be fatal".
After galley hygiene swabs were taken, 43 out of 46 ships sampled, or 93%, were "unsatisfactory due to the presence of high levels of bacteria", and 45% of drinking water samples (59 samples from 29 ships) were deemed "unsatisfactory" following tests for coliforms, enterococci and e-coli, along with an aerobic colony count.
A UK wide study on the High Prevalence of Legionella In Non-Passenger Merchant Vessels (NPMV) and published by Cambridge University Press, with the Salford data included, found that "Vessels were frequently positive and a large proportion of results were greater than the UK upper action limit
"SBT [Sequence-based typing] indicated that some NPMVs were contaminated with L. pneu-mophila sg1 STs previously associated with human disease" it added "This presents a risk of infection to merchant seafarers and raises significant concerns about the management of Legionella on board NPMVs."
The report is due to be 'noted' by councillors at next week's full meeting of Salford City Council.