Asylum seeker 'takes own life' on board Bibby Stockholm barge ahead of Rishi's crunch Rwanda vote

12 December 2023, 11:04 | Updated: 12 December 2023, 18:40

An asylum seeker has died on board the Bibby Stockholm barge
An asylum seeker has died on board the Bibby Stockholm barge. Picture: Alamy/LBC
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

A migrant has died on the Bibby Stockholm barge in Dorset after 'taking his own life'.

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An asylum seeker was found onboard the three-storey barge this morning, it is understood.

Speaking to LBC News, CEO of refugee charity Care4Calais Steve Smith said: "My information, subject to confirmation, is they took their own life," but he stressed the charity was "still seeking confirmation."

There were three police vehicles and two ambulances outside of the Bibby Stockholm barge, though those on board were 'kept in the dark' about what had happened for over an hour.

In August, 39 asylum seekers who had been placed on the Bibby Stockholm barge previously said conditions were so bad one tried to attempt suicide.

Floral tributes left near the scene after an asylum seeker died on the barge
Floral tributes left near the scene after an asylum seeker died on the barge. Picture: LBC

Mr Smith said added to LBC News: "It doesn't come as any surprise, both from the Wethersfield Barracks and the Bibby Stockholm, we've been receiving repeated calls from people saying they're at the end of their teather and they're considering taking their own lives."

"There's overcrowding, there's narrow corridors, there's nothing to do and barley anywhere to go. These people have been through the most traumatic incidents of their lives and there's nowhere to go."

Mr Smith revealed there were even "former members of the Afghan Army, who supported our own troops during the war in Afghanistan and are too scared to go back to their own country because of what the Taliban would do to them."

Speaking on LBC's Tonight with Andrew Marr, another asylum seeker living on the barge said everyone was "furious" about the incident, even more so because management has failed to give an information on the situation.

The man - who remained anonymous - said he and others came to the UK to be free.

"But the reality is we are in the most restricted situation that any asylum seeker could face or experience in the world," he said.

He continued: "People would say most asylum seekers came for financial or economic reasons but the fact is for me, and most people, we came to be free."

The Prime Minister's official spokesman told reporters following the incident: "There has been and continues to be support available to those on the Bibby, as it is indeed available (to those) in other forms of accommodation.

"Everyone has a medical assessment, including for emotional trauma.

"They are monitored for further support, any vulnerabilities are recognised and supported, there are trained staff available.

"So, all of that support will continue in light of this tragic incident."

Asylum seeker on board Bibby Stockholm dies

Bibby Stockholm asylum seekers barge at Portland Port near Weymouth in Dorset
Bibby Stockholm asylum seekers barge at Portland Port near Weymouth in Dorset. Picture: Alamy

A spokesperson for Dorset Police said: "At 6.22am on Tuesday 12 December 2023, Dorset Police received a report of a sudden death of a resident on the Bibby Stockholm.

"Officers are conducting enquiries into the circumstances of the incident. The coroner's office has been notified of the death."

Home Secretary, James Cleverly
Home Secretary, James Cleverly. Picture: Alamy

Meanwhile, the home secretary, James Cleverly, confirmed that "tragically there has been a death on the Bibby Stockholm barge".

He told the House of Commons that the government "will investigate fully".

Read More: First asylum seekers reboard Bibby Stockholm after coach driver breaks through Just Stop Oil blockade

Read More: Migrants to be moved back onto Bibby Stockholm after Home Office paid £300,000 a week for empty barge

In September it emerged that a deadly strain of legionella was found on board the barge.Water samples showed that the bacteria was initially detected in tests on the first day people boarded, on August 7.

It was publicly confirmed by the Home Office on August 11 and 39 people were evacuated from the barge on the same day.

The water system was flushed out but the most deadly strain of legionella was found in a galley pot-wash hose outlet on August 15.

The discovery proved a major embarrassment for the government.

It comes as MPs prepare to debate their Rwanda immigration policy ahead of a crunch vote.

Those feeling distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org in the UK. In the US, call the Samaritans branch in your area or 1 (800) 273-TALK

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