Protesters gather outside Bibby Stockholm after Legionella outbreak on board
Protesters have gathered near the controversial Bibby Stockholm barge – after the migrants being housed on board had to be moved to other accommodation after Legionella was discovered.
The Home Office removed the 39 people being housed on board the barge, which is moored in Portland, Dorset, on Friday after tests carried out on the water supply in July revealed the bacteria.
One placard said “No Barge, Stop the Boats” and another demanded “No to unvetted men” – while others took aim at Portland Port Chief Bill Reeves and called for a stop to “Bill’s Barge”.
The UK Health Security Agency is understood to have informed ministers on Thursday that Legionella had been found in the vessel’s water system.
None of those on board are believed to have shown symptoms of Legionnaires’ Disease and they are currently being housed elsewhere.
READ MORE: Ministers to order more migrant barges despite Bibby Stockholm Legionella farce
The Home Office has said the migrants are being provided with “appropriate advice and support”.
The Bibby Stockholm has a capacity of more than 500 people, and the Government hopes it will help reduce the cost of keeping asylum seekers awaiting the outcome of their applications in hotels – which stands at around £6million a day.
At least 509 people crossed the English Channel in small boats on Saturday, with at least six other people drowning and 58 rescued after their boat sank.
Tory MP David Davis said he did not feel the barge would not serve as a “solution” to the backlog – even without the presence of the bacteria.
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Speaking on BBC Radio 4, the former Brexit Secretary said: “The primary thing that’s been revealed has been the startling incompetence of the Home Office itself… It’s really, really hard to understand how, at all layers, this could not be caught early.”
A Home Office spokesperson said: “The health and welfare of asylum seekers remains of the utmost priority.
“The Home Office and our contractors are following all protocol and advice from Dorset Council’s Environmental Health team, UK Health Security Agency and Dorset NHS who we are working closely with.”
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