First pictures of refurbished small boat migrant barge as it leaves to host 500 asylum seekers within days | The Sun

MIGRANT barge the Bibby Stockholm set sail from Cornwall to its permanent home in Portland, Dorset, today.

After a two month refurbishment process, the giant barge is due to house 500 migrants within days.

The massive vessel was pulled to sea by tug boats this morning.

Over the weekend in Portland fuming residents held placards protesting its arrival.

Households hit out at the local council and Portland Port for giving the barge the green light.

But a defiant Rishi Sunak remained adamant the Bibby Stockholm is critical to stopping the boats.


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A No10 spokesperson said: "I think it's right for the public as a whole that we move away from a situation where £6 million a day of taxpayers' money is going towards housing these individuals in hotels.

"That's not a good use of money and obviously that puts unplanned pressure on local areas as well."

"The spokesperson added: "We think it is better to open specific sites designed to house immigrants that come in, done in a more planned way.

"That's what we are seeking to do with the Bibby Stockholm and that's what we're seeking to do in other parts of the country – opening up sites to take the pressure off local areas and to reduce the cost.

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"This approach will save taxpayer money compared to the money we're spending on hotels."

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.

It should also reduce the £3.5 billion bill ministers pay to house asylum seekers in nice hotels.

The costly barge is just one part of a major Home Office plan to crackdown on illegal channel crossings.

The flagship Illegal Migration Bill, which is making its way through parliament this week, is another component.

The bill is currently stuck in a tug-of-war between Tory MPs and meddling peers who want to water it down through amendments.

It's hoped the legislation will be on the statute books by Wednesday.

As it stands the bill will ensure only under-18s and the genuinely sick can apply for asylum in the UK.

All other arrivals will be deported home or to a safe third-country like Rwanda.

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And they'll be banned from ever living in the UK.

While migrants wait for return trips, holiday parks, student digs, military accommodation and the Bibby Stockholm will be used to house migrants instead of expensive four and five-star hotels.

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