'I like it': First migrant to leave Bibby Stockholm gives verdict on what life is like on floating barge

8 August 2023, 14:47 | Updated: 8 August 2023, 16:25

'Bibby Stockholm' Welcomes First Asylum Seekers
'Bibby Stockholm' Welcomes First Asylum Seekers. Picture: Alamy/Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

The first migrant to step off the Bibby Stockholm has revealed what life is actually like on the controversial migrant barge.

Amir, 32, from Iran, was one of over a dozen asylum seekers to board the Bibby Stockholm in Portland, Dorset, on Monday.

The Iranian is also one of the first to have left the migrant barge, revealing what life is actually like on board having had a breakfast consisting of eggs, cheese and bread.

"It's ok, I like it," he told The Sun.

He was ushered away by a charity worker who told him he was not allowed to speak to the press, according to the publication.

It comes amid warnings that migrants who refuse to board the barge face losing government support.

Bibby Stockholm
Bibby Stockholm. Picture: Getty

Lawyers acting on behalf of a refugee charity blocked the transfer of around 20 asylum seekers onto the Bibby Stockholm when the first group boarded the barge on Monday.

Some 15 did get onto the barge, which has room for 500 people.

Care4Calais has said that its lawyers made legal representations to prevent the migrants who were due to board the vessel on Monday having to get on board, claiming it was "inhumane" to house traumatised people on the barge.

But the Home Office told migrants that if they did not get on the bus, the government could cancel its support for them.

Read More: Migrants who refuse to board Bibby Stockholm barge 'face losing government support'

Read More: First 15 migrants board Bibby Stockholm: Flanked by police single men move onto the controversial barge

The letter says: "Arrangements were made for you to travel from your accommodation... to alternative accommodation at the Bibby Stockholm in Portland on 7th August 2023.

"On 7th August 2023 you did not take up this offer of accommodation.

"Accommodation is offered on a no-choice basis. Where asylum seekers fail to take up an offer of suitable accommodation without a reasonable explanation, there should be no expectation that alternative accommodation will be offered.

"If you do not travel tomorrow, on 8th August 2023, arrangements for ceasing the support that you are receiving from the Home Office may commence."

Protests take place in Dorset over Bibby Stockholm

The 93-metre long barge arrived at the docks in Dorset in July after completing its final journey from Falmouth to Portland.

Footage taken by LBC shows inside the accommodation vessel and what asylum seekers set to board the vessel later this month can expect on their three to nine months on board, according to the Home Office.

The government described the divisive new home for migrants as “basic and functional accommodation” and designed to “minimise the need to leave”.

Upon entrance, the barge has a reception and a security check-in.The barge has 222 bedrooms.

One bedroom offers a single-sized bunk bed, a desk with a chair, a small screen TV, a wardrobe and large window overlooking the rest of the dock.

Inside the bedroom is also an en-suite wet room, with a toilet, sink and mirror.

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