‘They are creating a Grenfell on water’: Caller condemns migrant barges

14 May 2023, 15:01

Caller says barges for migrants are 'floating coffins' after government plans to overfill the boats

By Alice Bourne

A caller has expressed concern over a government plan to house 500 migrants on a boat designed for 220, telling David Lammy that it could become a "floating coffin”.

LBC caller, Mark from Hitchin, began by telling David Lammy: “What I’m concerned about is what the government is potentially making here, Bibby Stockholm made it clear the boat is designed for 220 people.”

The Bibby Stockholm vessel arrived in Falmouth on Tuesday where it will undergo an assessment and refurbishment. The vessel is set to house around 500 migrants and will be moved to Portland in the next few weeks.

The barge is part of a series of government schemes aimed at moving asylum seekers away from hotel accommodation.

The caller continued: “The escape routes on these ships are very narrow and very low. Most people in a fire do not die from the fire they die from the smoke.

Read More: Rishi Sunak vows to use 'as many barges as it takes' to house migrants amid Archbishop of Canterbury criticism

“What they are effectively doing here is they are creating a potential Grenfell on water, a floating coffin so to speak.

“Now I would question if they are planning to put 500 people onto that vessel, then that vessel will not have any kind of safety certification.

“If there is a fire people will die. In this case, people won’t die from the smoke or the flames, they will die from the stampede."

David Lammy was moved by this prospect saying: “Mark I’ve got to tell you this is extraordinarily serious, I say it's serious because a good friend of mine died in the Grenfell fire and like you say it wasn’t the fire that killed her it was the smoke."

David continued: “It would be desperately horrendous if there were a fire on one of these boats and people lost their lives.”

Read More: Channel migrants are often 'lower-skilled people' and represent 'burden on the British state', Robert Jenrick tells LBC