Huge three-storey barge that will house 500 migrants with a pool table and gym arrives in the UK | The Sun
THE Bibby Stockholm barge that will house hundreds of small boat migrants arrived in Falmouth this morning.
The long-awaited giant boat will undergo an inspection and refit on the Cornish Coast before being towed to Portland Harbour in Weymouth.
There, the 91-meter barge will house up to 500 men while they await deportation orders from border officials.
The three-storey vessel, fit with a gym and pool table, was purchased by ministers in April as part of a major crackdown on small boat arrivals.
MPs hope the drab facility will deter illegal migrants from making the dangerous journey across the Channel.
Chartering the boat is set to cost tens of thousands of pounds every day – but ministers say that will be less than the pricy hotels many people are currently staying in.
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The deal to rent the vessel currently lasts 18 months, but migrants aren't expected to move in for another few weeks yet.
Only single adult males will use the site while their claims are processed.
There will be healthcare provisions, catering and 24/7 security to minimise disruption.
The Home Office is in discussions with other ports and further vessels will be announced in due course.
The agreement is the first of its kind ever signed by the British government.
Councils are expected to be sweet talked into accepting the extra migrants with an extra £3,500 cash payment each.
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But local Tories are desperately trying to thwart the plan.
Last Friday following local elections, the council flipped from Conservative to Labour control, with some blaming the Bibby Stockholm's arrival for the result.
Portland Harbour, where the vessel will eventually dock, has previously been home to a floating prison boat – named HMP Weare – which docked there from March 1997 until it closed in 2005.
A whopping 5,000 illegal migrants arrived in Britain by small boat between January and April.
But the numbers are an improvement on the 6,300 people who arrived illegally this time last year.
After a record 45,755 migrants made the dangerous crossing in 2022, the PM has made "stop the boats" one of five pledges to define his leadership.
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