Migrant ship Bibby Stockholm delayed due to ‘health and safety rules’

Ministers were last night thwarted in their bid to move the first migrants on to the Bibby Stockholm barge today.

Officials confirmed the opening group would not be allowed on to the vessel until next week.

Home Office sources said the delays were being caused by health and safety rules.

Port workers require the plans to be signed off before the ­asylum seekers can board the Stockholm in Portland, Dorset.

Dorset Council also said they did not want services to begin on either Thursday or Friday as it was “close to the weekend”.

Concerns over fire safety were thought to have been the reason the arrival was pushed back. But sources insisted “there are no fire safety issues”.

Among those set to be moved on to the barge in Portland was a migrant who said they have been living in a hotel for the past
two years.

Those set to stay on the vessel received a letter stating: “Your accommodation is changing and you will be moved to the
Bibby Stockholm.”

The letters state: “You are not being detained under immigration powers, and this is not detention accommodation. You are free to leave the site, but we would request that you sign in and out of the site when you leave and return.”

Transport minister Richard Holden said: “It’s going through its final checks at the moment. It’s right that whatever accommodation we provide is safe and secure as well. I can’t put a time frame on it. The checks are going to take as long as they’re going to take.”

Almost 3,300 asylum seekers crossed the Channel last month, with more people in each small boat than ever before, latest figures show.

Home Office data reveals 3,299 made the journey in 63 vessels in July. The number of migrants being crammed into boats has also shot up drastically over the past five years, when the crisis began.

In 2022, an average of 41 ­asylum seekers were packed into dinghies, up from 28 the ­previous year.

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