Asylum seekers will go onto barge in ‘coming weeks', says Dowden
Asylum seekers will be housed on the Bibby Stockholm barge in the “coming weeks”, the Deputy Prime Minister has insisted amid delays over safety concerns.
Oliver Dowden said the Government was “confident” that the problems can be addressed after firefighters warned the vessel in Dorset’s Portland Port is a “potential death trap”.
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has raised particular concerns about the plans to initially accommodate about 500 people on the barge, which is designed to house about 200.
After a series of delays, Government sources had suggested the first arrivals will come next week but Mr Dowden hinted at another possible delay.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We have to undertake a number of inspections and other measures to make sure that these vessels, and this vessel in particular, is suitable and ready.
“We are confident that we will be able to address all of these concerns, I’m absolutely certain of that, and I’m absolutely certain we will be able to get people on this vessel in the coming weeks.”