Asylum seeker dies on Bibby Stockholm: ‘UK Government must take responsibility’

The Bibby Stockholm immigration barge in Portland Port

An asylum seeker housed on board the Bibby Stockholm barge in Dorset has died.

The Home Office has confirmed that it is aware of an incident involving an asylum seeker on board the controversial three-storey barge, described by critics as a “floating prison”, being used to house up to 500 migrants.

The barge was first used to house asylum seekers in August, but was evacuated shortly after due to Legionella bacteria being found in the water supply. People returned to the vessel in October.

The use of the barge to accommodate migrants was strongly opposed by critics, with LGBTQ+ charities explaining that queer and trans people seeking asylum are particularly at risk of harm.

Steve Smith, CEO of refugee charity Care4Calais, told PinkNews the charity’s “thoughts are with the person who has lost their life, their family and their friends”, and that people on board the Bibby Stockholm will be “experiencing a deep feeling of grief and worry today”.

“The UK Government must take responsibility for this human tragedy,” Smith added.

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“They have wilfully ignored the trauma they are inflicting on people who are sent to the Bibby Stockholm, and the hundreds being accommodated in former military barracks.

“They are being separated from the rest of society and we have witnessed a serious deterioration of people’s mental health. We have regularly been reporting suicidal intentions amongst residents and no action is taken.

“This can no longer continue. Asylum seekers are human beings, many of whom have experienced the worst traumas imaginable through war, torture and persecution. It’s time our political leaders treated them as human beings, listened to the trauma they have experienced and offered them sanctuary.”

A Home Office spokesperson told PinkNews:  “We are aware of reporting of an incident involving an asylum seeker on the Bibby Stockholm.  

“This is an ongoing police investigation, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time”