A whistleblower from Dorset County Council has described the Bibby Stockholm as having the potential to become a “floating Grenfell” because of the lack of fire safety measures. Over 500 people are to be confined in a space designed for 222, with long narrow corridors, only two main exits and a fenced evacuation point on the quayside behind two sets of locked security gates.

When local councillors visited the barge, they were told there were no lifejackets, and that the recent refurbishment was needed to repair a rotting hull. This could make the vessel inherently unsafe in view of the additional weight it will carry.

The Bibby Stockholm was supposed to receive the first asylum seekers on August 1st, but Sky News now reports that the first arrivals are expected on August 7th.

Meanwhile, the solicitors Leigh Day and Care4Calais are offering advice to refugees who do not wish to be forced to live on the barge. Anyone requiring legal advice can contact Care4Calais’ Access Team via WhatsApp 07519 773268 and a caseworker will contact them to arrange support.


A Financial Times editorial has said that “putting asylum seekers on barges is an idea that should be consigned to history.” The policy has  been compared to confining convicted criminals  in mid-Victorian England to prison hulks.