Asylum Seekers To Return To Bibby Stockholm Barge After Legionella Outbreak

The 39 migrants were evacuated from the barge after the lethal bacteria scare in August
A general view of the Bibby Stockholm immigration barge in Portland Port.
A general view of the Bibby Stockholm immigration barge in Portland Port.
Finnbarr Webster via Getty Images

Asylum seekers are to be sent back to a migrant barge two months after they were evacuated following a major health scare.

The 39 men were put on the Bibby Stockholm in August but were removed just five days later when legionella bacteria, which can cause serious illness, was detected in the water supply.

The barge, which is docked in Portland Port on the Dorset coast has been dubbed a “floating Grenfell” because of fire safety concerns.

Ministers have defended the use of the barge, claiming it is necessary to slash the £6 million a day bill of putting migrants up in hotels.

The Home Office today confirmed that the migrants would be moved back on to the Bibby Stockholm “following the vessel completing all necessary tests”.

A spokesperson said: “The Home Office has started to send letters to asylum seekers to confirm the re-embarkation of the Bibby Stockholm and notify them that they will be accommodated on board, following the vessel completing all necessary tests.

“The letters confirm the next steps for asylum seekers and reiterate that all asylum accommodation continues to be offered on a no-choice basis.

“Delivering alternative accommodation sites, such as the vessel, is more affordable for taxpayers and more manageable for communities, due to healthcare and catering facilities on site, 24/7 security and the purpose built safe accommodation they provide.”

The men are expected to go back onto the barge on October 19.

The three-storey vessel has 222 and is intended to hold about 500 men while they await the outcome of their asylum applications.


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