‘What is the Bibby Stockholm?’: Home Office not telling asylum seekers they are being moved to a barge

Asylum seekers being chosen for switch to the Bibby Stockholm asylum barge are not being instructed it is a ship, The Impartial can reveal.

Legal professionals are reviewing the one-page notices, which have been despatched out since Friday and provides recipients no date for his or her transfer, no justification for it and no technique of problem.

Every one begins “pricey resident”, and comprises hand-scrawled lodge room numbers quite than individuals’s names, inflicting confusion and suspicion that they are faux or have been misdirected.

The Home Office is nonetheless planning to transfer asylum seekers onto the Bibby Stockholm this week despite considerations about fireplace security, following delays and authorized challenges to its lodging plans for disused navy bases.

There are considerations that being housed on the barge will “retraumatise” individuals who survived harmful boat journeys to the UK, and though the Home Office claimed “suitability screening” would happen the standards being used are unclear.

The federal government claims the Bibby Stockholm will home 500 individuals, up from its earlier capability of 222


“The letter does not say it is a boat,” mentioned one charity employee, who did not need to be named. “It does not give a date both, there isn’t any names or reference numbers. They’re selecting individuals up from totally different locations.”

The person, who is serving to confused asylum seekers receiving the notices, mentioned cursory communications are frequent with the Home Office.

“This occurs all the time, they can simply come to you and say ‘pack’,” he added. “If you happen to say no they can evict you.”

A duplicate of the letter seen by The Impartial makes use of the phrase “aboard” when discussing the amenities obtainable on the Bibby Stockholm, however refugee advocates say the phrase is not generally understood by non-English audio system.

“You are at present being supplied with asylum assist below of the Immigration and Asylum Act [sic],” it says.

“Your lodging is altering and you may be moved to the Bibby Stockholm, Portland.

“You are not being detained below immigration powers, and this is not detention lodging. You are free to go away the website, however we might request that you simply signal out and in of the website if you go away and return, so we are able to guarantee your security.”

The Bibby Stockholm barge has proved controversial with locals and refugee campaigners

(PA Wire)

The letter says there can be entry to an on-site nurse, “leisure area”, English lessons, unspecified “voluntary sector actions” and “leisure areas”, in addition to a worship room and personal area for authorized consultations and cellphone calls.

It directs individuals to basic steerage on the asylum course of however does not give another data or state clearly that the Bibby Stockholm is a barge.

The letter is signed off from the “Home Office Different Lodging Group”, which is believed to be a new unit centered on the barge and disused navy bases that the authorities claims will present cheaper alternate options to accommodations.

Steve Smith, chief government of refugee charity Care4Calais mentioned: “The impersonal nature of those letters is inflicting confusion and nervousness amongst those that are receiving them. Folks are asking our volunteers whether or not the letter was supposed for them and what is the Bibby Stockholm?

“A few of them have skilled extreme trauma at sea earlier than in search of security in the UK, and discovering out that the Bibby is a floating barge is retraumatising them.

“Their instances reinforce that no human needs to be warehoused on a barge, they needs to be handled with dignity and housed in communities.“

A view of inside one in every of the bedrooms onboard the Bibby Stockholm lodging barge at Portland Port in Dorset


The primary group of round 40 individuals is anticipated to arrive over the coming days, however ministers declare greater than 500 will finally be housed on the vessel moored in Dorset.

The Impartial understands authorities have issued formal warnings about insufficient fireplace evacuation protocols for the vessel, which comprises 222 cabins lining slender corridors over three decks.

The quayside adjourning the barge is closed off at one finish, with 15ft steel fences and a locked gate separating it from the remainder of the port – sparking considerations about potential crushes amongst individuals fleeing any hazard.

Richard Drax, the Conservative MP for South Dorset, mentioned the Home Office and vessel operators should “guarantee all security necessities are met”, and questioned whether or not the capability needs to be lowered.

Dorset and Wiltshire Fireplace and Rescue Service mentioned it could use its enforcement powers if mandatory and had “supplied recommendation and remark in relation to fireplace security preparations”

The Well being and Security Government mentioned it had issued separate recommendation over points on the quayside surrounding the barge and that its considerations had been addressed.

Alison Thewliss, the Scottish Nationwide Celebration’s house affairs spokesperson, mentioned: “It is totally unacceptable that weak people in search of refuge in our nation are being housed in situations that jeopardise their wellbeing and security.

“I name upon this UK Tory authorities to conduct a right away and thorough investigation into the state of affairs at Portland Port.”

The federal government insists the barge can be cheaper than accommodations, the place round 50,000 asylum seekers are at present housed at a price of £6m a day however has refused to estimate the price of every place.

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