top of page
  • Writer's pictureNikki Latham

Boat To House 500 Male Asylum Boat Claimants In Portland Port

It's been reported that the UK Government has agreed a deal to house 500 single male immigrants in a boat, Bibby Stockholm, at Portland Port.

The port had been building as a cruise ship destination, but today the website listings of their arrivals has been completely cleared. Locals have expressed concerns openly on social media, alongside councillors and local MP, Richard Drax.

The costs have not been revealed at the time of publishing, but currently the migrant boat arrivals are costing £6 million a day in various hotels to house across the country, many of these in seaside towns, which have a very seasonal employment situation for their economy, very much like Weymouth, the nearest town to this barge. The costs do need to be reined in, but also those who take their holidays in the UK need places to stay too. I have found the costs of hotel rooms have rocketed, and although the cost of living may have had an effect on this, the shortage of rooms must impact this too.

Pictures All Credit to: Bibby Marine Ltde

The Bibby Stockholm is referred to the accommodation, as basic and functional accommodation, but has a gym, bar, restaurant and games room. When it was used by the Netherlands in the 2000s, but has been refurbished to make the rooms en suite, but at the time their government was criticised for this move described as an "oppressive environment". The boat has been used by construction workers and even armed forces.

Pictures All Credit to: Bibby Marine Ltde

The plans have been condemned by international rights organisations, refugee advocacy groups and politicians. Richard Drax, South Dorset MP, has said that the ideas has been dumped on the area without consultation.

Mr Drax said: "With 500 migrants or more dumped here, I cannot see this is a sensible move, so for those reasons and many others I reject it"

"We already know some migrants have disappeared from hotels, we fear some into gangs. Are they going to stay here?’

With so many homeless on the UK streets, many would be happy with a roof over their head, rather than sleeping on the cold, wet streets as it is at the moment, and many of the homeless are ex-servicemen and women, who have fought for our country. Dorset Council had "serious reservations" and opposed the plans for the Port. Laboutr's shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper calling the announcement a sign of the government's "failure to clear the asylum backlog". She said: "This barge is in addition to hotels, not instead of them, and is still more than twice as expensive as normal asylum accommodation." Bill Reeves, chief executive of Portland Port, said he encouraged "everyone in the community to approach this with an open mind", adding that during the vessel's preparation there would be close ties with the local community and voluntary groups. It has been given that the boat with have security and medical needs treated onboard the vessel and not impact on the local area. This comes weeks after the plans to tackle small boat crossings through the Illegal Immigration Bill. This would mean anyone found to have entered the country illegally would not only be removed from the UK within 28 days, but also be blocked from returning or claiming British citizenship in future We watch how this progresses and it's impact on the local community, and the tourist trade that is vital for both Weymouth and Portland, with Public Health Dorset, quoted as saying Weymouth and Portland are one of the most deprived areas of Dorset, with nine areas within 20% most deprived in England.


bottom of page